Published: June 22, 2011
Updated: June 22, 2011
The posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) is a strong band of tissue that, along with the anterior curciate ligament (ACL) help keep your knee together by connecting the thigh bone (femur) with the shin bone (tibia).
PCL injures are not very common but, when left untreated, can cause serious pain and discomfort.
PCL injury is often caused by trauma (such as a car accident) or sports injury. Specifically, the PCL is injured when the shin bone takes a direct hit below the knee and is forcefully pushed backwards.
Some symptoms of PCL injury include:
A physical examination of your knee, complete with a stress test, will help your doctor make an accurate diagnosis about your injury. A patient history regarding how you hurt your knee will also play a part in diagnosing the injury.
Sometimes, doctors will order a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to view the knee in its entirety and get a definitive diagnosis.
In rare cases, arthroscopy is used to view the injured ligament and repair it at the same time.
Because PCL injuries are so rare, there is no definitive treatment that all doctors agree on. All treatment is based on the severity of your injury, which your doctor will diagnose.
Less severe injuries are treated with medication, rest, and crutches.
Physical therapy is the most common treatment for PCL injuries. The physical therapist will show you exercises and give you tips on ways to strengthen and restore the strained or torn ligament.
Ligament reconstruction surgery is usually reserved for when other structures in the leg have been injured as well.