The posterior cruciate ligament, or PCL, is not injured as frequently as the ACL. PCL sprains usually occur because the ligament was pulled or stretched too far, a blow to the front of the knee, or a simple misstep.
PCL injuries disrupt knee joint stability because the shinbone can sag backwards. The ends of the thighbone and shinbone rub directly against each other, causing wear and tear to the thin, smooth articular cartilage. This abrasion may lead to arthritis in the knee.
Treating PCL injuries
Patients with PCL tears often do not have symptoms of instability in their knees, so surgery is not always needed. Many athletes return to activity without significant impairment after completing a prescribed rehabilitation program.
However, if the PCL injury pulls a piece of bone out of the top of the shinbone, surgery is needed to reattach the ligament. Knee function after this surgery is often quite good.