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A posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) injury is a partial or full tear of the tough band of fibers that connects the thigh bone to the shin bone.
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PCL injury is caused by excess force on the knee. This may be from:
Some sports may raise the risk of this injury, such as football and soccer. Being in a motor vehicle accident may also raise the risk.
An injury to the PCL may cause:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms, health history, and how the injury happened. A physical exam will be done. It will focus on the knee.
The doctor may suspect a PCL injury based on symptoms. Images may be done to confirm it. This can be done with:
The PCL does not heal on its own. The goal is to ease pain and improve movement. This may be done with:
Some people may need surgery. It will remake the PCL with tissue from other areas of the body or from donor tissue.
The risk of an ACL injury may be lowered by stretching and strengthening the muscles around the knee and in the front of your thigh.
American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine
OrthoInfo—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Canadian Orthopaedic Association
Canadian Orthopaedic Foundation
Ligament injuries to the knee. John Hopkins Medicine website. Available at. http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/conditions/adult/orthopaedic_disorders/ligament_injuries_to_the_knee_85,P00926. Accessed March 30, 2020.
Posterior cruciate ligament injuries. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00420. Updated February 2009. Accessed March 30, 2020.
Last reviewed February 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Teresa Briedwell, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS Last Updated: 3/30/2020