The posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) is recognized as an essential stabilizer of the knee. However, the complexity of the ligament has generated controversy about its definitive role and the recommended treatment after injury. A proper understanding of the functional role of the PCL is necessary to minimize residual instability, osteoarthritic progression, and failure of additional concomitant ligament graft reconstructions or meniscal repairs after treatment. Recent anatomic and biomechanical studies have elucidated the surgically relevant quantitative anatomy and confirmed the codominant role of the anterolateral and posteromedial bundles of the PCL.
Although nonoperative treatment has historically been the initial treatment of choice for isolated PCL injury, possibly biased by the historically poorer objective outcomes postoperatively compared with anterior cruciate ligament reconstructions, surgical intervention has been increasingly used for isolated and combined PCL injuries. Recent studies have more clearly elucidated the biomechanical and clinical effects after PCL tears and resultant treatments. This article presents a thorough review of updates on the clinically relevant anatomy, epidemiology, biomechanical function, diagnosis, and current treatments for the PCL, with an emphasis on the emerging clinical and biomechanical evidence regarding each of the treatment choices for PCL reconstruction surgery. It is recommended that future outcomes studies use PCL stress radiographs to determine objective outcomes and that evidence level 1 and 2 studies be performed to assess outcomes between transtibial and tibial inlay reconstructions and also between single and double-bundle PCL reconstructions.