Torn PCL Exercises

Basic exercise which may be used as part of a rehab program for a posterior cruciate ligament injury.

The following is for information purposes only. Always seek professional advice before starting any rehabilitation programme.

Mobility exercises

Basic mobility exercises which may be used as part of a rehab program for a posterior cruciate ligament injury.

Knee flexion - heel slides

  • Lie on back and bend the knee ensuring the foot stays in contact with the floor. Repeat 10 to 20 times.
  • Slight discomfort may be felt but not pain.

Knee flexion assisted

  • As above but use a towel or similar to pull on the leg, increasing movement.

Calf stretch

  • Keep the heel of the back leg on the ground and gently push forward.
  • This will stretch the large Gastrocnemius muscle which attaches above the knee.
  • You can hold this stretch for at least 20 seconds and repeat 3 times.
  • This set of stretching can be done three times a day - more as long as it does not hurt.
  • Some therapists recommend holding stretches for up to 40 seconds or more.

Hamstring stretch

  • Sit on the floor with both legs straight out in front.
  • Rotate the straight leg outwards and lean forward at the hips to feel a stretch under the thigh.
  • Hold stretch for 20-30 seconds.
  • Repeat the stretch throughout the day at least 3 times

Strengthening exercises

Static quads seated

  • Contract the quadriceps muscles and hold for 5 to 10 seconds.
  • Relax for about 3 seconds and repeat 10 to 20 times.
  • Place the fingers on the muscle towards the inside of the leg above the knee (vastus medialis muscle).
  • It is important that this muscle is developed and this one should be felt contracting whilst performing the exercises.

Static quads standing

  • As above but performed in the standing position.
  • This exercise is performed from phase 3 onwards of the post surgery rehabilitation programme.
  • These exercises should be performed on a daily basis.

Static quads over roll

  • Place a paper roll or towel under the knee and perform static quadriceps contractions as above.

Static hamstring holds

  • Lie on your front or stand upright.
  • Bend the knee to about halfway up.
  • Hold in that position for 10 to 20 seconds.
  • Repeat 1 to 3 times daily.
  • Progress by increasing duration of hold and number of repetitions.

Later Stage Exercises

Calf raises

  • Simply raising up and down on the toes, keeping the legs straight.
  • Aim for 3 sets of 10 to 20 repetitions daily.
  • This exercise can be progressed later in the rehabilitation process by doing single leg calf raises and then single leg calf raises without leaning against a wall or holding onto anything.

Hamstring curls

      • These can be done initially against a wall with no weight, using rehabilitation band, and eventually with a specialist weights machine.
      • Curl up against resistance and down again in one smooth movement.
      • Aim for 3 sets of 10 to 20 repetitions.
      • As strength increases and resistance increases then more recovery time may be required between sessions.

Quarter squats

        • Squat down to about a quarter of the way down and return to the starting position.
        • Aim for 3 sets of 10 to 20 repetitions.
        • Progress this by going down to half way (Phase 3 of rehabilitation) and then full squats (to horizontal) in the sports specific stages.
        • Increase the intensity by adding weight.
        • Ensure stomach muscles are kept firm when performing squats.

Lunge

        • Standing one leg in front of the other as shown.
        • Bend the front leg to lean forwards and return to standing.
        • Aim for 3 sets of 10 to 20 repetitions.
        • Increase intensity by adding weight.
        • Ensure stomach muscles are kept firm when performing this exercise.

Heel drops

      • Standing on a step or similar of up to 6 inches in height, bend one leg so the heel of the other almost touches the floor and return to starting position.
      • Repeat until the muscles feel tired.

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