PCL Injury

John Miller Physiotherapist

Article by John Miller

PCL Injury

Posterior Cruciate Ligament Injury

In the landscape of knee joint issues, a posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) tear emerges as a prevalent concern. This article explores the anatomy, causation, symptoms, and treatment of PCL injuries, enriched with a physiotherapist’s insights and contemporary research.

Anatomy of the PCL

The PCL plays a pivotal role in knee stability, originating from the medial femoral condyle and branching into two bundles—the posteromedial and anterolateral—before attaching to the tibia. Composed of sturdy fibrous material, it restrains joint mobility, averting hyperextension, posterior tibial displacement, and excessive external rotation.

Prevalence of PCL Injuries

While less common than other knee ligament injuries, PCL tears account for 3% to 23% of knee injuries. The PCL’s thickness exceeds that of the ACL, influencing its injury pattern.

Causes of PCL Injuries

PCL injuries typically stem from forced hyperextension or posterior translation of the tibia, prevalent in motor vehicle accidents and sports. They may also co-occur with ACL or MCL injuries.

Symptoms of a PCL Tear

PCL tears can be subtle, with symptoms often more subtle than ACL injuries. Patients may experience more disability than instability, without the notable “pop” associated with knee injuries.

Diagnosing a PCL Tear

Diagnosis involves clinical tests for posterior instability and MRI scans to determine the extent of the ligament damage and associated knee injuries.

PCL injury
Pcl Injury

Treatment Approaches

Grade I / II Injuries:

Mild to moderate PCL injuries typically respond to non-operative physiotherapy, with favourable outcomes for those who adhere to a rehabilitation programme.

Grade III Injuries:

These might necessitate surgery, depending on functional requirements. Many cases can forego surgery with appropriate rehabilitation.

The Role of Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy for PCL tears aims to:

  • Alleviate pain and inflammation
  • Normalise joint movement
  • Strengthen the knee and lower limb muscles
  • Enhance balance and proprioception
  • Improve functional capabilities
  • Prevent re-injury

Braces for PCL Tears

Braces offer stability for repairing PCL injuries, with effectiveness varying based on the instability degree. Specially moulded braces are more effective in severe cases.

PCL Surgical Considerations

Deciding on PCL repair surgery involves evaluating factors like knee instability, other ligament damages, and the patient’s level of physical activity.

Post-Surgical Rehabilitation

Optimal outcomes from PCL surgery heavily depend on post-operative physiotherapy, focusing on knee function restoration while safeguarding the repaired ligament.

Sports with High PCL Tear Risks

Sports involving landing, jumping, and twisting have higher PCL injury risks. These include AFL, rugby, basketball, among others.

Preventing PCL Tears

Latest research emphasises neuromuscular and strengthening exercises to prevent PCL injuries. Consultation with a sports physiotherapist for customised prevention strategies is recommended.

Returning to Sport

Athletes with isolated PCL injuries generally return to sport without significant issues. Complications like ACL injuries or posterolateral corner instability or meniscal tears necessitate careful evaluation.


While less common, PCL injuries present significant challenges. Understanding their anatomy, causes, symptoms, and treatments is vital. Effective management through physiotherapy or surgery, under professional guidance, is essential. For a personalised assessment and treatment plan, consulting a sports physiotherapist or knee surgeon is strongly advised.

Seek Professional Advice

If you suspect a PCL injury, consulting a sports physiotherapist or knee surgeon for a comprehensive evaluation and customised treatment plan is crucial. Prompt intervention can greatly improve recovery and facilitate a swift return to daily activities and sports.

Knee Pain Causes

A Comprehensive Guide

Knee pain is often a symptom of underlying issues ranging from acute injuries to systemic health conditions. Identifying knee pain causes is essential for effective treatment. This guide offers an overview of potential culprits, providing a pathway to understanding and addressing your knee discomfort.

Knee Pain Causes
Knee Pain Causes

Knee Ligament Injuries

Ligament injuries, such as ACL and PCL tears, are significant knee pain causes. They can lead to instability and severe discomfort, requiring prompt medical evaluation.

ACL Injuries

An ACL injury is a common sports-related knee injury that can lead to long-term knee pain and require surgical intervention.

Knee Meniscus Injuries

Meniscus tears, often caused by twisting or turning quickly, are prevalent knee pain causes, with treatment options varying based on severity.

Kneecap Pain

Pain in the kneecap can arise from various conditions, affecting your ability to engage in daily activities comfortably.

Knee Arthritis

Arthritis is a leading cause of knee pain, particularly in older adults, with symptoms that can significantly impair quality of life.

Knee Tendon Injuries

Tendon injuries can result from overuse or sudden, high-impact activities, contributing to ongoing knee pain.

Muscle Injuries

Muscle strains and related conditions are common knee pain causes, especially among athletes and active individuals.

Knee Bursitis

Inflammation of the bursae can cause significant knee pain, often requiring targeted treatment to reduce symptoms.

Children’s Knee Conditions

Young athletes can experience specific knee conditions related to growth and activity levels.

Other Knee-Related Conditions

Various other conditions can lead to knee pain, necessitating a broad understanding of potential knee pain causes.

Knee Surgery

In some cases, surgical intervention may be the best option to address certain knee pain causes effectively.

Seek Professional Advice

For tailored information regarding your knee pain, consult a healthcare professional with experience in knee conditions, such as a knee physiotherapist, sports physician or knee surgeon. They can provide a personalised assessment and treatment plan to address your specific needs.

Knee Pain Products & FAQs

A variety of products can support knee pain management. Browse our selection and read our FAQs to learn more about how to alleviate knee discomfort. More info: Knee Pain Products & FAQs

With this guide, you’re better equipped to understand the various knee pain causes and take the first step towards recovery. Remember, early intervention by a skilled physiotherapist can significantly improve your outcomes and assist in returning you to a pain-free, active lifestyle.

Knee Pain FAQs

Knee pain is a widespread issue, impacting individuals of varying ages and lifestyles. Causes range from injuries and wear and tear to conditions like arthritis. This FAQ section aims to provide insights into knee pain, covering diagnosis, ligament issues, ACL injuries, meniscal injuries, age and arthritis concerns, and pain relief methods through exercise and treatment.

Feel free to click on the questions to for deeper discussions into each topic.

knee pain faqs
Knee Pain Faqs

Diagnosis Related

How Can I Determine If My Knee Injury Is Serious?

  • Learn to assess the severity of your knee injury based on symptoms and situations.

How Can I Identify The Type Of Knee Injury I Have?

  • Discover how different knee injuries manifest and what signs to look for.

When Should I Seek a Physiotherapist or Doctor for My Knee Injury?

  • Find out the right time to consult professionals for your knee concerns.

Is Knee Clicking a Sign of a Serious Condition?

  • Understand what knee clicking indicates about your joint health.

When Should I Consider Getting a MRI for My Knee?

  • Learn about the circumstances when an MRI becomes necessary.

Why Has My Knee Suddenly Started Hurting?

  • Explore potential reasons behind sudden knee pain.

Why Does My Knee Hurt On The Inner Side?

  • Identify causes of inner knee pain and when to seek help.

Knee Ligament Related

What Are The Common Symptoms of a Torn Ligament in the Knee?

  • Recognise the signs of a torn knee ligament.

Can I Walk With A Torn Ligament In My Knee?

  • Understand the feasibility and risks of walking with a torn ligament.

ACL Related

What are the Consequences of Not Getting Surgery for an ACL Injury?

  • Learn about the long-term effects of untreated ACL injuries.

What Are The Symptoms Of An ACL Tear?

  • Identify the key signs of an ACL tear.

Meniscus Related

Is Surgery Necessary for a Meniscal Injury?

  • Discover when surgery is essential for meniscal injuries.

Can a Torn Meniscus Heal Without Surgery?

  • Find out if meniscal tears can heal naturally.

Age & Arthritis Related

At What Age Do Knee Problems Typically Begin?

  • Learn about the onset age for common knee problems.

What are the Common Symptoms of Arthritis in the Knee?

  • Identify arthritis symptoms in the knee.

Running Related

What are Some Ways that Runners Can Reduce Knee Stress?

  • Explore methods for runners to minimise knee stress.

Knee Treatment & Exercise Related

Is Walking Good For Knee Pain?

  • Understand the benefits of walking for knee pain.

What are Some Effective Ways to Relieve Knee Pain?

  • Discover various methods to alleviate knee pain.

How Much Walking is Recommended for Individuals with Knee Pain?

  • Learn the ideal walking duration for those with knee pain.

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