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Posterior Cruciate Ligament Injury (PCL) Injury


Strong bands of tissue called “ligaments” help stabilize the bones that form the knee joint. One of these ligaments is called the “PCL.” It helps connect the femur to the tibia. If you stretch or tear a PCL, your knee may become unstable.


Posterior Cruciate Ligament Injury (PCL) Injury

Causes & Triggers

The PCL can be injured by a sudden blow to the front of your knee when your knee is bent. That can happen if you play contact sports. It can happen if you have a road accident. You can also injure the PCL if you misstep and twist your knee.

  • Direct blow
  • High-impact collision
  • Hyperextension of knee
  • Sports injury (especially football, soccer, skiing)

Signs & Symptoms

A PCL injury causes pain and swelling. Your knee may feel stiff. You may have trouble walking. And, your knee may feel unstable.

  • Instability
  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Tenderness

Tips & Treatment

Treatment depends on your needs. Some injuries can heal on their own. You may benefit from options such as rest, a knee brace and physical therapy. If these aren’t helpful, you may need surgery to repair the ligament. Your healthcare provider can create a plan that’s right for you.

  • Seek immediate medical attention for this condition.
  • Diagnosis is typically made only with a physical exam, although X-rays or an MRI may be ordered.
  • Treatment may involve immobilizing the knee, resting, ice and anti-inflammatory medication.
  • Depending on severity, surgery may be required to restore full function.

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