The knee is the largest joint in the body and is vital to movement. Two sets of ligaments in the knee give it stability: the cruciate and the collateral ligaments.
The cruciate ligaments are located inside the knee joint and connect the thighbone (femur) to the shinbone (tibia). They are made of many strands and function like short ropes that hold the knee joint tightly in place when the leg is bent or straight. This stability is needed for proper knee joint movement.
The name, cruciate, derives from the word ‘crux’, meaning ‘cross’ and ‘crucial’. The cruciate ligaments not only lie inside the knee joint, they crisscross each other to form an ‘x’. The cruciate ligament located toward the front of the knee is called the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), and the one located toward the rear of the knee is called the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL).
To learn more about ACL, please click on the link here to go directly to more in-depth information on the procedure.
Posterior Cruciate Ligament (PCL) Tear
Most sports fans have heard about ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injuries and the damage they do, but little attention is paid to a corresponding ligament in the back of the knee, the PCL (posterior cruciate ligament).
The PCL is very strong, but a powerful force can rupture or tear it. For example, PCL tears can occur when a football player falls on a bent knee. Motor vehicle accidents are another common cause of injury to the PCL; when the driver or passenger strikes the bent knee just below the kneecap (patella) against the dashboard, the force can tear the PCL and damage other ligaments, bones and muscles. Excessive tension, such as results from a dislocated knee, can also damage the PCL.