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Posterior Cruciate Ligament Rupture? You Don’t Always Need Surgery!

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The Posterior Cruciate Ligament or PCL is a ligament within the knee, which lies next to the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL).  Its job is to stabilise the knee along with the other ligaments, mainly limiting the posterior movement of the tibia against the femur.

Dependent on the circumstances and the extent to which the ligament is injured, your orthopaedic consultant may consider conservative management of the injury as opposed to surgical intervention.  In most cases, a brace would be provided in order to stabilise the joint and allow the ligament to go through the healing process. This brace should be adopted whilst weight bearing through your injured leg in order to protect the damaged structures and prevent further injury to the PCL. Your surgeon may even apply a restriction to the amount that you can bend your knee to limit the stress to the joint. Protecting movement in the knee, which would add increased stress to the PCL ligament is vital in ensuring successful conservative management.

Throughout your rehabilitation, your physiotherapist will help you in strengthening the muscles around the knee in order to add the extra stability required to the knee. Rehabilitation times required for returning to sport and unprotected activity can range from 3-12 weeks depending on the degree of your injury.

As usual, during conservative management of a ligament injury your physiotherapy regime will consist of protective bracing, muscle conditioning, proprioception exercises and a sports-specific exercise program if required.  Conservative management following a strict physiotherapy regime have shown excellent results through clinical trials, with the general consensus showing at least 50% of the injured patients returning to the higher or the same intensity of sport prior to injury.

Have you had any treatment for a ruptured PCL? Share your experiences in the comments section below!