Knee > PCL Tear > Treatments

   Physical Therapy

Home Recovery

If your PCL (posterior cruciate ligament) tear does not require immediate surgery, your doctor may recommend rest followed by a physical therapy program.


Anti-inflammatories such as aspirin or ibuprofen may be recommended or prescribed to ease the pain and swelling associated with the injury. A small amount of pain is normal during physical activity, but if you feel so much pain in your knee to warrant taking a painkiller before an activity, you should consider cutting back or stopping. Do not play through the pain after an PCL injury - it may be a sign that your activity is putting too much stress on your knee.


   Your doctor will likely suggest that you take it easy for several days, so it may be wise to clear your schedule of any physical activities. You probably should not do the activity that caused the injury.

   Initially, your doctor will likely recommend applying ice packs to the knee for 10 or 15 minutes every three or four hours. You will probably need to do this for two or three days or until the pain subsides.

   An elastic wrap or bandage will compress the knee and help keep the swelling down.

   Elevation of the injured leg will also help control swelling.

You should be ready to begin physical therapy once the pain and swelling has subsided and you feel your knee is stable enough to do exercises.

Prevention [top]

Strengthening the thigh muscles may help prevent further knee injury. After up to six months of rehab, your knee may feel strong but your PCL may not stabilize your knee as well as it did before the injury. Remember that many of the exercises and activities that are popular for fitness put stress on your knees.


Your physician may prescribe a brace initially to make you more comfortable. However, braces have not been shown to prevent injuries to the knee ligaments. In most cases, a brace is not recommended, though your physician may suggest an immobilizer to hold the knee straight for up to two weeks. A brace is more commonly used during physical activities when certain types of chronic tears exist, but mild tears ­ the type that normally do not require surgery ­ usually do not lead to use of a brace.

R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation)
Physical Therapy
   Home Recovery
Ligament Reconstruction

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