The posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) is located in the back of the knee connecting the thighbone (femur) to the shinbone (tibia) and prevents the shinbone from moving too far backward. It provides stability and helps control movement in the knee.
Players of contact sports like football or soccer are most prone to a PCL injury. The PCL can tear when the athlete receives a blow to the front of the knee or makes a misstep on the field.
Symptoms of a PCL Tear
- Immediate swelling around the knee
- Difficulty walking
- Pain with mobility
- Occasionally, a feeling of instability
Minor PCL tears should be treated with RICE: rest, ice, compression and elevation. Anti-inflammatory drugs may also be recommended. When the swelling subsides, a physical therapy program is usually undergone to strengthen the quadriceps muscle and regain range of motion. In some cases where the PCL is completely torn, arthroscopic surgery may be done to repair the ligament using a portion of the patellar tendon or a cadaver tendon.