PCL Tear InformationEverything you need to know about treating and healing your PCL Tear

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PCL Tear Treatment

  • RICE -- The RICE method is an effective way to get control of your symptoms.
  • Immobilization -- A brace or splint can be worn to help you keep the knee still.
  • Painkillers -- Over-the-counter painkillers can provide temporary relief.
  • Blood Flow -- Improving blood flow circulation works to accelerate healing.
  • Physiotherapy -- Physiotherapy can begin about 4-6 weeks into recovery.

If you have a PCL Tear, the first step is to make sure you don't do any further damage to the PCL. This can be achieved by resting your knee and avoiding the activity that caused your PCL injury. You may even want to consider immobilizing the PCL with a brace or splint. Next, you need to relieve the pain, swelling and inflammation. The easiest way to do this is by following RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) and taking painkillers. To begin the healing process, you need extra blood flow. There are devices that can be worn while you are resting that bring additional blood flow to your PCL. This improved circulation works to heal your damaged PCL and speed up the recovery process. Physical therapy consists of exercises designed to help your knee regain strength and flexibility.

PCL Tear Treatment - RICE


Following the mantra of “Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation” is one of the easiest ways to quickly bring down the swelling and help with the pain. By resting the injured knee, you are ensuring that no further damage is done. Applying ice along with compression will work to control the swelling and relieve the pain. Elevating the affected leg above your heart will help alleviate inflammation. You can do this by propping up your leg on a pillow.

In order to achieve both cold and compression at the same time, you should use a knee wrap with cold gels. This will provide you with targeted, more comfortable cold therapy. Alternatively, you can use a bag of peas or ice from home. Just make sure you do not apply something from the freezer onto your bare skin. You should always use a barrier to protect your skin from cold burns, such as a towel or layer of clothing.

PCL Tear Treatment - Immobilization


Depending on the severity of your PCL Injury, your doctor may advise you to immobilize the knee for the first several weeks of recovery. This is done by wearing a brace or splint.

The purpose of immobilizing the knee joint is to help you avoid doing any further damage to the PCL. While you are wearing the brace or splint, you will need to use crutches to help you get around.

PCL Tear Treatment - Painkillers


Painkillers like NSAIDs and analgesics can be used to temporarily relieve the pain. It should be noted, however, that painkillers are dangerous when used while you’re physically active. This is because painkillers completely block the pain signal, making us unaware of any potential re-injury that could be happening. Painkillers should only be used when you’re off your feet. Using painkillers during physical activity will only result in further injury and a longer recovery time.

While analgesics (like Tylenol) only work to alleviate pain, NSAIDs (like Advil) help relieve pain and inflammation.

PCL Tear Treatment - Blood Flow

Improved Blood Flow

Improved blood flow is not usually easy to achieve when you’re injured. Normally, it is advised to keep active in order to improve blood flow circulation. When you’re injured, however, you need to rest in order to avoid re-injury. There is a solution -- there are devices on the market that allow you to rest while you receive additional blood flow. These devices are designed for the body part and stimulate blood flow deep below your tissue to accelerate the healing process. Healthy, high-quality blood flow is exactly what your PCL needs to get on the fast track to healing.

PCL Tear Treatment - Physiotherapy


Most people can start a physical therapy program after 4-6 weeks of healing have been accomplished. The objective of physiotherapy for a PCL tear is to build up the muscles around your knee in order to regain strength, as well as to restore full range of motion to the knee joint. If any part of your physical therapy program causes pain, tell your physiotherapist. This could be a sign that your PCL is not healed enough to begin physiotherapy.