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Posterior Cruciate Ligament Injury

Medically reviewed by Last updated on May 6, 2024.

What is a posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) injury?

A PCL injury is a partial or complete tear of the ligament in the back of your knee. The PCL connects the tibia (shin bone) to the femur (thigh bone). The PCL stops the tibia from sliding too far backward or forward and keeps the knee stable.

Knee Anatomy

What are the signs and symptoms of a PCL injury?

Unlike other ligament injuries, you will not hear a pop, snap, or tear when your PCL is injured. You may not have any signs or symptoms, or you may have any of the following:

How is a PCL injury diagnosed?

Healthcare providers may test the function of your PCL by moving your knee, leg, or foot in different directions. They do this to look for changes in the position of the parts of your knee. This may show a PCL injury or injury to other knee ligaments. Both of your knees may be checked for any abnormal movement. You may need the following tests:

How is a PCL injury treated?

You may only need physical therapy and supportive devices if your PCL injury is mild. You may need surgery if you have a PCL tear or damage to other knee ligaments. You may need any of the following:

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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