PCL Tear/Sprain

The posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) is the ACL’s partner.  It is located inside the knee and prevents the tibia (lower leg bone) from moving backwards on the femur (thigh bone).  Injury to this ligament is fairly rare compared to ACL injuries.  It can cause knee instability, especially with running, jumping, cutting.

A PCL tear/sprain most commonly occurs from a dashboard injury (when the dash gets pushed back into the knee in a car accident). This also can occur from a fall directly on knee. In sports injuries, a PCL tear/sprain is often found alongside injury to other knee structures.

– Poor lower body mechanics. 

– Hip weakness.

– Pain in knee. 

– Significant swelling. 

– Occasional bruising. 

– Decreased knee range of motion. 

– Difficulty walking.

At Home Diagnostic Tests

– None — see symptom checklist.


At Home Care

– Begin edema management immediately – elevation, ankle pumps, ice, NSAIDs as needed, compression. 

– Crutches as needed for walking. 


When to Seek Help

If you are experiencing the above symptoms, please see your physical therapist immediately.  Your physical therapist will provide a comprehensive evaluation and determine if you need medical imaging or further assessment by an orthopedic surgeon, as well as provide immediate treatment to get you feeling and moving better – you won’t find this in an orthopedic quick care or PCP’s office!


Inspired Athletx Treatment

Both conservative management and post-surgical care follow a similar structure, with certain weight bearing and range of motion restrictions included after surgery.  The immediate goal is to reduce swelling, improve pain, and increase range of motion through a combination of manual therapy and active exercise.  Progressive return to activity will include general strength training for the core and lower body, improving lower body mechanics, overall mobility, and balance.  As the patient nears return to sport, the focus shifts toward sport specific activities, including running, jumping, and change of direction drills.