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Posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) tear

The posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) is a band of tissue that connects the femur to the tibia at the back of the knee joint. An injury to this stabilizing ligament requires a powerful force, like a motor vehicle accident or sports injury.


  • Knee pain
  • Instability
  • Swelling, stiffness, or bruising

Diagnosis and Treatment

In many cases, a torn PCL will heal without surgery. Your orthopedic surgeon may recommend using the RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation), bracing, physical therapy, and taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs).

A doctor may recommend surgery if you have multiple injuries to your knee. Arthroscopic surgery is often used to rebuild the ligament. A torn PCL will be replaced with a tissue graft from another part of your body or a cadaver. Arthroscopic surgery is less invasive and results in quicker recovery times.