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  • Writer's pictureKevin Kapka, PT, DPT

Posterior Cruciate ligament (PCL) Injuries

Updated: Oct 10, 2023

Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) injuries are a relatively rare type of knee injury, accounting for only about 3-20% of all knee ligament injuries. The PCL is a strong band of tissue that connects the femur (thigh bone) to the tibia (shin bone) at the back of the knee joint. It helps to stabilize the knee joint and prevent the tibia from moving too far back relative to the femur.


PCL injuries can occur as a result of a direct blow to the front of the knee, such as in a car accident or a fall, or from a twisting injury to the knee, such as in sports like football, basketball, or soccer. Symptoms of a PCL injury can include pain, swelling, and stiffness in the knee, as well as difficulty walking or bearing weight on the affected leg.

If you have suffered a PCL injury, it is important to seek medical attention from a qualified healthcare provider, such as a physical therapist, who can help you manage your symptoms and develop an appropriate treatment plan.


Physical therapy is an important part of the rehabilitation process for PCL injuries. Your physical therapist will work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan based on your specific injury and individual needs. Treatment may include:

  1. Rest and protection: Initially, you may need to rest your knee and use crutches to avoid putting weight on the affected leg. Your physical therapist may recommend using a knee brace or other protective device to help stabilize the knee and prevent further injury.

  2. Range of motion exercises: As your symptoms improve, your physical therapist will work with you to gradually restore your knee's range of motion through a series of stretching and flexibility exercises.

  3. Strengthening exercises: Once your knee is able to move more freely, your physical therapist will design a program of strengthening exercises to help rebuild the muscles around the knee joint and improve your knee stability.

  4. Balance and coordination exercises: Your physical therapist may also incorporate exercises to help improve your balance and coordination, which can help reduce the risk of future knee injuries.

  5. Functional training: As you progress in your rehabilitation, your physical therapist may also incorporate functional training exercises that mimic the movements required for your specific sport or activity, such as jumping or cutting movements.

In addition to physical therapy, other treatment options for PCL injuries may include medications to manage pain and inflammation, as well as surgical intervention in more severe cases.


The recovery time for PCL injuries can vary depending on the severity of the injury and the specific treatment plan. With appropriate medical care and physical therapy, however, most people are able to return to their normal activities within a few months.

If you have suffered a PCL injury, it is important to work closely with a qualified healthcare provider, such as a physical therapist, to develop an individualized treatment plan that meets your unique needs. With the right care and rehabilitation, you can get back to the activities you love and minimize your risk of future knee injuries. If you are in the Mission Viejo area and think you, or someone you know, might benefit from physical therapy, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

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