Posterior Cruciate Ligament Injury Follow-up

Updated: Mar 20, 2017
  • Author: Charles S Peterson, MD; Chief Editor: Craig C Young, MD  more...
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Follow-up

Return to Play

When nonoperative treatment has been initiated, the athlete may return to play once the quadriceps strength has been regained. Yearly follow-up is recommended to monitor the knee for degenerative changes. Athletes with PCL injuries that have been operatively treated may return to sports at 9-12 months following surgery, pending the course and compliance with physical therapy and also the return of quadriceps strength. Follow-up at 2, 6, 12, 24, 36, 48, and 52 weeks following surgery is recommended.

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Complications

Possible complications associated with PCL injury include the following:

  • Initial stiffness

  • Instability

  • Progressive arthritis

  • Postoperative complications

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Prevention

Most cases of PCL injuries are not preventable. Athletes who participate in at-risk sports should maintain good strength and flexibility and should practice good techniques within their specific sports. Some physicians advocate the use of functional knee braces for reducing the risk of a recurring PCL injury when returning to activity.

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Prognosis

See Physical Therapy, Acute Phase.

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Education

Patient education is very important throughout the rehabilitation process for individuals with PCL injuries. Athletes should be informed of the benefits and risks of possible treatments and be involved in the decision-making process. To achieve their goals and be able to return to play, patients need to be compliant with their physician's instructions and physical therapy program as outlined by their therapist. As patients progress through their rehabilitation program, they should be instructed in a home exercise program for continued strengthening to decrease their risk for a recurrent injury.

For patient education resources, see the Foot, Ankle, Knee, and Hip Center, as well as Knee Injury and Knee Pain.

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