PCL Tear Symptoms, Treatment, and Recovery

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“Staff was super friendly. I did not have to wait long for my appt, which is always a plus. My knee had been bothering me for 4 months and he had it feeling better within a day and my ROM is better, not 100%, but that is on me now. I had little to no pain. I would absolutely recommend them for any Ortho needs.” — Jennifer R. 

The knee is composed of two bones: the femur (thigh) and the tibia (shin), which are connected by ligaments that hold together and stabilize the knee. The PCL is the strongest ligament in your knee, responsible for keeping your knee stable and allowing it to move back and forth. Sometimes through a sudden impact or excessive force, an individual can encounter a PCL tear.

Today, we will go into further detail regarding PCL tears and the symptoms linked to them, along with the recommended treatment and recovery methods used regularly at JIS Orthopedics.

Causes, Signs, and Symptoms of a PCL Tear

PCL tears make up less than 20% of ligament-related knee injuries. In most cases, PCL tears occur alongside other ligament injuries. That means that typically, your PCL isn’t the only part of your knee that is injured (only 28% of PCL injuries occur alone).

The main cause of a PCL tear is trauma. A direct blow or excessive force can cause the ligament to tear and, in some cases, dislocate the knee. PCL tears can also be caused by hyperextension or twisting of the knee. These injuries are more commonly seen in athletes who participate in the following sports: soccer, football, baseball and skiing. It is rare that a PCL tear is caused by a simple misstep.

If you experience a PCL tear, it is common to feel a swelling pain in your knee. You may even feel unstable as you walk, causing you to limp or have the feeling that your knee is “giving out.”

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, meeting with a doctor at JIS Orthopedics might be for you. Since the PCL is located deep inside your knee, it’s important to make sure that you handle this as soon as possible, in order to prevent any long term damages.

PCL Tear Treatment

If you have injured only your PCL and nothing else, there are several effective forms of treatment that don’t require surgery at hand. In some cases, you may be recommended a brace or crutches. In others, you may just be recommended for physical therapy. Throughout both techniques, there is a helpful model that we recommend you follow, known as PRICE: Protection, Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation, that will help you with your recovery.

In more serious cases, surgery is recommended when the PCL tear is severe or is part of an injury to other knee ligaments. For example, if you have dislocated your knee and torn your PCL, a surgery will almost always be necessary. This type of surgery is called PCL ligament reconstruction. During this, your doctor will remove the torn PCL and replace it with a new tissue. Typically, the tissue graft comes from another part of the patient’s body or another donor.


Whether you need surgery or not, rehabilitation is one of the most important steps in the process of treating a PCL tear. During rehabilitation, patients will focus on improving the range of motion, strength, and endurance of their knee to bring it back to its best ability. Recovery times span from 6 to 12 months for patients who underwent surgery, while patients who did not can expect a recovery time of up to 6 months. Although the rehabilitation process may seem slow, therapy is an essential step in ensuring a full, healthy recovery.

JIS Orthopedics can diagnose and treat your injury, and help you recover

Are you experiencing knee pain that is limiting you from doing the things you love? JIS Orthopedics is here to help. Give us a call today and begin your road to recovery with us!

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