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PCL Injury Recovery

PCL injury recovery, or PCL rehab, is required after injury to the Posterior Cruciate Ligament, or PCL for short.

PCL rehab will be different depending on the severity of the knee injury suffered.

During the PCL recovery time, any activities that involve running should be avoided.

In most cases, where surgery is not required, PCL knee injury can be treated simply with time and strengthening of the pcl ligament. 

Whenever there is a chance of a complete tear to the PCL, or any other knee ligament, seeking a professional opinion immediately is the smartest choice.

Anytime there is a possibility of a complete ligament tear, there may be other parts of the knee injured at the same time as well.

Doctors have the equipment and the professional knowledge to fully assess the extent of the injury,

PCL treatment starts by letting the pain subside, than working on mobility of the knee, followed by strengthening the knee before returning to any sport or activity.

Wearing a hinged knee brace will help support the knee ligaments and shorten recovery time.

Knee exercises are done to strengthen the knee ligaments and lower the overall chances for knee injuries.

As I mentioned above, only very severe PCL ligament tear requires knee surgery, all other PCL knee injuries can be treated with time and exercises, allowing the ligament to heal itself.

PCL Injury Rehab

Grade I PCL injury happens when there is a mild stretching of the PCL knee ligament beyond its limits.

This type of injury usually tears less than 10% of ligament fibers.

Mild swelling and little to no pain when bending the knee is to be expected.

Knee should feel stable and participating in activities is possible, BUT NOT RECOMMENDED, as the injury can easily become worse.

  • Grade I PCL injury rehab time is 2-4 weeks away from activities that involve running.
  • Grade I PCL treatment is done using RICE method (Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate).
  • Use of anti-inflammatory medication to help with any swelling.
  • PCL rehab exercises to strengthen the knee are listed at the end of this article, and should be done 10-20 minutes daily.

PCL Injury Rehab

Grade II PCL injury occurs when the PCL ligament fibers are stretched beyond their limit, causing a tear in excess of 10% of ligament fibers.

Grade II PCL injury comes with instant pain and swelling.

Bending of the knee feels painful and the knee itself feels unstable and loose.

Any activity should be STOPPED.

PCL Injury Recovery for faster return to the sport:

  • Use of hinged knee brace to offer support and additional stability to the knee, especially during the first 2-3 weeks after the injury.
  • RICE Method (Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate) for accelerated PCL recovery. 
  • Anti-inflammatory medication to help with swelling
  • Knee exercises to help with the mobility and the strengthening of the PCL ligament after an injury.
  • It will usually take 4 - 8 weeks for Grade II PCL injury to recover. 

Athletes can return to their sport when there is no pain directly over the PCL ligament, or any symptoms of instability to the knee.

PCL Injury Rehabilitation

Grade III PCL injury happens when the PCL ligament is completely ruptured.

In most cases, other knee ligaments will be injured along with the PCL ligament, and surgery may be required to fix the damage done to the knee.

Inability to walk and instant swelling should be expected, along with severe pain at the time injury occurs.

Any Grade III ligament injury should be assessed by a professional doctor.

Doctor will assess the knee injury by comparing the injured knee to the good knee, followed by tests such are MRI or X-Ray, to fully assess the damage of the knee.

PCL Injury Recovery:

  • Use of crutches or a knee brace to immobilize the knee after the injury, or surgery.
  • RICE (Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate) method to speed up the healing process.
  • Use of anti-inflammatory medication to reduce swelling.
  • Once able to bend the knee, athletes should start using the stationary bicycle.
  • Walking and progression to jogging should be started as the pain subsides and allows to do so.
  • Use of hinged brace is helpful to keep the knee stable, especially during the early stages of PCL rehab.
  • After 4 weeks, the knee should start feeling better and knee strengthening exercises should be started.
  • Athletes will usually need 12-24 weeks (3-6 months), or longer, before returning to their sport.

Athletes should only return to playing their sport when there is no pain or any instability noticeable in the knee area. 

For more information on PCL injury recovery visit Posterior Cruciate Ligament - PCL Injury.

faster PCL Injury Recovery through exercises

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