Runner with a partial PCL tear

by LaRae
(Sioux Falls, SD)

I recently was in a motorcycle accident where my knee came down on my tank as we both hit the ground from a high fall. Luckily after my MRI, my doctor told me that it was a partial PCL tear and I would heal just as well with physical therapy as I would with surgery...(in my case.)


I recently have undergone about a week and a half of pyhsical therapy and I feel very good. I have had no instability, (steps, walking and stretching are painless so far.) I do have a little bit of swelling still in my knee cap but have been icing as much as I can. I guess my question is this....will I be able to run again???

I am 28 and a casual runner. I don't do marathons or iron man competitions, but I competed in HS and College track and I LOVE to run still. I also do a some lifting...I guess I am very "active."

But my therapist, depsite my doctors opinion, has been so very negative about everything. Although I feel very good for being only 2 weeks out from the motorcycle accident. I have met with her 3 times and have impressed her each time with my improvement....but she insists I may not ever be able to run again. I have to admit it crushed my spirit last time we met.

I am a fighter though....I keep working and icing despite her negative remarks. But I would really appreciate your opinion on this. I plan on talking with my doctor soon too. Oh...another reason I would like to get better is because a dream of mine is to go into the military and pursue becoming an Officer. It was something I was planning on doing this coming fall. I know I will not be able to jump out of planes and such....but will I be able to run and do some rigorous exercise?

I cant wait to hear what you have to say.
Thank you!!!

LaRae

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Jan 06, 2015
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Recent grade 1-2 pcl tear NEW
by: Tasha

I think these posts are a little older but willing to help if I can. I came crashing down on my knee, tore my pcl and strained my acl. Whew! Could have been worse. I'm also a long time runner whose initial doctor was very negative about my ability to run again. I kept my leg elevated and had a compression bandage on every opportunity I could. The pain has gone from a 10 to now a little discomfort when walking downstairs in less than 2 months. My PT is awesome. Has me on a back to running program already. I've been diligent about doing my exercises to strength my hips quads and glutes and correct my single leg squats so that my leg doesn't turn inward.

My advice is yor find a PT that shares your goals. Mine is a marathone runner. I am very lucky. Best to you all! I understand how precious running is.

May 07, 2013
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PCL TEAR AND RUNNING NEW
by: Anonymous

I HAD A PARTIAL PCL TEAR 10 YEARS AGO AND COULD NOT RUN WITH OUT MY KNEE SWELLING FOR 3 YEARS, BUT AFTER THAT I WAS ABLE TO MODIFY MY RUN (SHORTER GAIT, KNEES NOT AS HIGH) TO KEEP MY KNEE FROM SWELLING. TODAY I RUN 5 MILES A DAY AT AN 8:30PACE, MY PACE PRE TEAR WAS 7:45, SO JUST KEEP WORKING, LISTEN TO YOUR BODY AND YOU WILL GET CLOSE TO WHERE YOU WANT TO BE

Apr 30, 2013
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PCL NEW
by: Anonymous

I am a rugby player who plays at a pretty high standard i suffered a high speed collision of knees while sliding to gather the ball 6 months ago. I have a grade 1 pcl tear and where the pcl insurts into the tibia is still swollen and inflamed causing me a bit of pain. i have been doing physio since the injury and have been very commited to strength work but i have recently gone back to playing with strapping on my knee and i don't feel as fast and powerful as i was before my injury and while in the rehabilitation process i did a lot of sprinting and my injured leg feels like it gets tired a lot more quickly than the other leg. The physio is optimistic i will be fine to play, but i am worried i will never regain the same speed and stability and agility that i had before.

Apr 27, 2012
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Partial PCL Tear NEW
by: Anonymous

It's funny you say something like this, I'm going on a week and a half already with my partial PCL tear and i was told the same exact thing from my Physical Therapist??? The DR told me PT isn't even mandatory but i would be crazy not to do it, so i am but the PT is so negative??? she has me doing workouts that a 5yo child would do and i feel really nothing from it...so i have taken matters into my own hands and have just been training myself as always and already can jog around, i tell her over and over i have no more pain but she is taking everything lightly because i still cant bend my leg all the way, I'm sure this is because of the swelling. all i can really say is you have to be positive but keep in mind the tear heals as scar tissue and you'll only have about 70%. this will have all your other ligaments working harder to pull the extra weight so just take it easy....and with an injury like this you might not want to mention it to Military personnel because they may drop you right on the spot.

May 30, 2011
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Runner with a partial PCL tear
by: De Silva

Hi

I was in a motorcycle accident as well in October 2010 and have been diagnosed with a grade 2 PCL tear. It has now been over 7 months and I have difficulty running. When I attempt to run I have constant pain (not immense) and feeling of instability in the knee and after about 15 minutes at a moderate pace I stop. I have been religious with the strengthening work recommended to me by my physio as well as attending regular physio sessions. I need some advice on how to move forward. I used to be a runner (not a marathon runner) but would run around 10K 4 - 5 times a week.

PS. How effective are PCL braces?

Thanks

Mar 17, 2010
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Help me guys to improve the tear
by: Anonymous

I have this problem too, please give me some advices to take care of my knee.
One week ago I had an accident by a motorcycle. the person who hit me escaped. So, I need to pay all the cost by myself. :(
any suggestion would be appreciated.
please give me some particular exercise to improve my pcl tear.
thanks in advance.

send your advice to my email plz:
aks486@gmail.com

Aug 06, 2008
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Yes, new therapist
by: Anonymous

I agree with the other poster. I dont have a PCL at all and I run. I'm not entirely sure where your therapist is coming from as I think the worst case scenario is that you might have to wear a PCL brace to run.

Jul 01, 2008
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Get a new therapist!
by: Anonymous

I have the same injury. It happened three weeks ago from a bicycle crash at about 20 mph. Landed on my left knee. I am also a runner and love to do marathons. I have seen two sports medicine specialists who told me that with therapy, I can be back out running again after I complete the treatment (another 4-6 weeks for 8 weeks total off running).
I think you need to get a new therapist. My experience has been that if you are athletic and want to return to your sport ASAP following an injury, you need to get to a sports rehab center. The people who work at these places understand the need for people like me to be able to get back to working out as soon as possible. People who do not run do not understand why anyone would want to run and they would be happy to hear that they can never run again. You need a therapist who will give you the best chance to fully recover and get back out there.

Jun 01, 2008
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You should do great...
by: Bart - SII

It has been my experience with the vast majority of PCL tears that I have seen that they heal well on their own - espcially partial tears. The important thing is to not take things too fast early on. The first 2-3 weeks need to be slower so that the ligament can get a good start on healing - don't push things that are painful and you should be fine.

It sounds like you are doing well. The swelling is normal and will probably continue for another few weeks intermittently. The fact that you do not have instability is very good.

Keep your head up and remember that your doctor told you that you should do well. Your therapist is probably not trying to be negative on purpose, but rather preparing you for the worst case scenario. That way when you are able to run again, you can prove her wrong. Just stick with the rehab and give it time.

Hope this helps - comment back with other questions and keep us all updated on your progress!

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