Conditions & Treatments

PCL Injury

Compared to anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries, PCL injuries are not as common. Like the ACL, the PCL helps stabalize the knee by preventing the shin bone from slipping backwards. The reason PCL tears are less common is because it takes a good deal of force to tear it. PCL tears usually occur when an athlete or driver’s bent knee is hit hard just below the kneecap

If you have sustained this injury, you may notice swelling and pain immediately after the injury, difficulty walking, or feelings of instability. You should see your doctor to be evaluated. Your doctor may order an X-ray or MRI in working up your injury.

If you have only damaged your PCL, surgery is usually not indicated. Rest, ice, compression, and elevation (RICE) are the recommended therapies in this case. Pain medication may be helpful shortly after the injury as well.

For injuries that include PCL damage as well as other damage to the knee, surgery is often the treatment of choice. Arthroscopic surgery is one option, where small incisions are made and small pencil-sized instruments introduced into the knee joint, and it is cleaned out and the cartilage is repaired. Should the PCL need replacement, PCL reconstruction is indicated, where a tendon or ligament from another part of your body is used as the replacement.

After surgery, rehabilitation excercises will be necessary to build strength in the joint. Full recover usually takes several months to a year.