Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) is located deep within the knee joint and PCL injuries are quite common knee injuries in sport. The PCL is larger and stronger than the Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL).
It passes backwards and downwards from the bottom of the thigh bone to the top of the shin bone. Its main purpose is to prevent the shin bone slipping backwards on the thigh bone. PCL injuries are usually caused by a blow to the front of the upper shin. In motor vehicle accidents, this occurs as the top of the shin strikes the dashboard.
In sports, a PCL injury can occur when an athlete falls to the ground on a bent knee, causing the upper shin to strike the ground first. A prominent Tibial Tuberosity (lump just below the knee cap) resulting from previous Osgood Schlatter’s disease may enhance the impact when the tibia strikes the ground.
One study estimates that PCL injuries make up as many as 20% of all knee ligament injuries, but the diagnosis is often missed.
This is due to the fact that many people can function normally without a PCL. However, detection of PCL injury is important because untreated PCL ruptures will lead to significant degeneration (i.e. osteoarthritis) of the knee and disability in later life.