The posterior cruciate ligament, or PCL, is a thick band of tissue deep inside the knee that connects the thighbone to the shinbone. Injury occurs when the ligament is overstretched.
Accidents, such as hitting the knee on the dashboard during a car accident, or falling onto a bent knee, are common causes of PCL injuries. Athletes who play sports, such as football and soccer, and skiers can experience PCL injuries. Knee injuries that tear the PCL often damage other ligaments or cartilage in the knee.
An injured PCL may cause you to experience these symptoms:
- Sharp or dull pain deep inside the knee joint or the back of the knee
- A wobbly feeling in the knee
- Knee pain when lifting a heavy load
- Swelling and/or stiffness in the knee
- Difficulty walking or running on the injured leg
- Difficulty going up or down stairs
Treatment of an injured PCL by a knee specialist at Lancaster Orthopedic Group may include ice and immobilization to stabilize and rest the joint, anti-inflammatory and pain medications, and physical therapy. A complete tear of the PCL may require surgery. Athletes may elect to undergo surgical replacement of the ligament to improve the stability of the knee during sports activities.