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Knee Posterior Cruciate Ligament Injury

What is the Posterior Cruciate Ligament or PCL?

Most PCL injuries occur with a posteriorily directed force across the lower leg bone. We commonly see this as a dashboard injury in motorvehicle accidents. Have a PCL injury is much less common than ACL injuries.

How is the PCL injured?

The PCL is an important ligament in the knee. It functions with the ACL to provide knee stability. The PCL is mainly a restraint against posterior translation of the tibia with relationship to the femur. The ligament connects the femur or thigh bone to the tibia or lower leg bone. It is located in the middle of the knee in the femoral notch behind the ACL.

How is a PCL injury treated?

We try to treat PCL injuries without surgery. There are certain situations where the torn PCL makes the knee so unstable the patient needs the PCL surgically reconstructed. These patients usually have other injuries to the knee including the lateral collateral ligament of the posterolateral complex. These injuries can occur from a knee dislocation which is a very serious injury. We typically use allograft material to reconstruct the PCL.


1. Cosgarea AJ, Jay PR. Posterior Cruciate Ligament Injuries: Evaluation and Management. J Am Acad Orthop Surg. 2001;9(5):297-30

2. Wright, JO, Skelley, NW, Schur, RP, Castile, RM, Lake, SP, and Brophy, RH. Microstructural and Mechanical Properties of the Posterior Cruciate Ligament Comparing the Anterolateral and Posteromedial Bundles. Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. October 2016. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.16.00032

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