Posterior Cruciate Ligament
and less researched than its counterpart the ACL, the posterior
cruciate ligament (PCL) comprises another field of knee injuries
in competitive athletes. It's estimated that posterior cruciate
ligament injuries account for between 3% and 20% of all knee ligament
Most PCL injuries that occur in athletes occur when the knee is bent is bent the foot is planted firmly on the ground. The tibia is struck with a forceful blow and pushed back causing the PCL to tear. Like the ACL, the PCL can tear as a result of non-contact. Hyperextension, the over extension of the knee, can cause the PCL to tear. Most often in these cases, the PCL is the only ligament torn. In contact cases, often times the ACL and meniscus is torn as well.
Unlike the ACL in athletes, where surgery is used to repair or reconstruct the torn ligament, the PCL injury is much more controversial. In the general population, conservative approaches to ligament repair are more widely accepted. In the athletic world this is still somewhat controversial, though now more studies are showing that non-operative therapy is effective and can be better. In severe tears, the patient should undergo PCL reconstruction surgery.
conservative therapy includes a 3-week period of immobilization
of the knee in full extension was achieved with a knee brace, while
performing hard quadriceps muscle strengthening exercise, and then
running exercise was started. It is believed that the strengthening
of the quadriceps is more important in the recovery of PCL injuries
and the prevention of reinjury. Normally, jogging is allowed approximately
3 to 6 months after the injury, and an athlete is generally able
to return to full activity and competitive sports after 6 to 12
When the tear is severe, the athlete must be operated on to recover function and resume their activity in sports. The tear can be repaired by reattaching the torn fibers to each other. If there aren't enough fibers for reattachment, the PCL should be reconstructed. As with the ACL reconstruction, the patellar tendon is the gold standard for the graft. Other sources of grafts for reconstruction include hamstring tendon autografts semitendonosis and gracilis tendon autografts, and achilles tendon allografts. All long-term PCL injuries are initially treated with an aggressive quadriceps rehabilitation program.
Both therapies for the treatment of PCL injuries yield similar results. All athletes are able to return to their respective sports after similar periods of time.