T Nation

May Have Torn PCL. What to Do?


I'm pretty sure I tore my PCL a couple a months ago. I was sprinting and felt a pop in my leg, and experienced severe pain that extended from my calf to my upper hamstring. Two months later the pain is still moderate and sometimes my knee feels very unstable.

I saw a physician last week. He examined my leg for about 10 minutes and said physical therapy should be sufficient. He denied my request for an Xray and MRI because I'm not an athlete, which seems ridiculous to me. Since I currently live abroad my insurance won't cover PT appointments (although it will cover x-ray and mri tests), and I hate the idea of paying these people out of pocket without even knowing my specific injury.

I would appreciate your opinions on my situation and what you think I should do, thanks.


Sorry I didn't notice there were subforums. If a mod is available please move this to injuries and rehab, thanks.


I've heard of minor tears where PT is recommended outright without any real need for additional testing or surgery. It's not uncommon for people to tear ACLs (or PCLs) and due to the strength and stability of the area (their actual leg muscles), they continue their lives unhampered in the least. Actually, I had this situation with my first dog. He limped slightly for a couple of weeks, and then was back to racing around like a maniac -lol.

I would imagine that the Doctor is reasoning that if you're not going to be subjecting the area to athletic-type stresses, that simply rehabbing the area should be sufficient to your situation. Most doctors would do the opposite, and run up your insurance for as many tests and procedures as they can.



second opinions are never a bad thing. PCL tears occur less often than any other tear and usually occur with direct blow to the tibia. More often a tear in the meniscus occurs, or plical impingement/tear. I'm not a knee guy though. I would recommend finding a new doctor if you are unsatisfied with the current doctor.


If you saw a PT it would take about 5 minutes to figure out if the knee ligaments were intact. Here are couple things to look at...

Even if you had an MRI most PCL's are left alone if injured in isolation. Unfortunately its rare to go right to an MRI without an x-ray, which is not indicated by the sound of it.

A few questions: An clicking/locking/popping? Instability/giving out of the knee?


Getting a PT eval tomorrow.

My knee is often in pain and feels very unstable while I'm walking around. Also, after long walks my quads, hamstrings and calves in that particular leg get very sore/tired.

"An clicking/locking/popping?" - Yes, lots of clicking and snapping throughout the day. Usually happens very frequently in the morning after getting out of bed, and when I change direction or pivot on that foot. Sometimes just extending the knee gets some clicks/snaps too.

edit: Also I think it's more likely an injury to my ACL. I tried doing some research before posting to get some idea of what was wrong. I'm obviously a noob and probably mixed up the two ligaments.


you heard and felt a pop, tear in your leg and experienced severe pain and you did not go to a doctor, but

will go to a physical therapist instead..... you need to make better choices and go see doctor.


also the popping and clicking is bone on bone. if your knee actually locks in place, you will not
physically move your leg (knee) even with all your strength.


Any update?


I did see a doctor, but he was an idiot and didn't refer me to an orthopedist. For people without insurance in Canada (non citizens), you need a physician's referral to see an orthopedist without paying full price. So I'm going back to the State's where I have insurance to see an ortho next week who I assume will give me an MRI.

Back on point, my PT thinks there's probably a tear in my meniscus and have possible ACL laxity. He has me on what I assume is a standard rehab program with leg stretches, squats, foam rolling, and a few other exercises.


Hmm normally your PT should be able to diagnose an ACL tear pretty easily.

All the popping and such is definitely consistent with a meniscal issue.

Keep up updated on how things go. I'm going through an ACL injury myself so maybe I can help if that's your issue.

Best of luck.


i dont know, there mabe another issue....

i've had 2 meniscus tears, one for each knee.

for meniscus tears i've had, has been inside(medial) and not lateral (outside) for each knee.

so where on your knee is your pain?

good luck!