Posterior cruciate ligament

Definition of the posterior cruciate ligament

The posterior cruciate ligament (Ligamentum cruciatum posterius) connects thighbones (Femur) and shin (Tibia).
The posterior cruciate ligament serves as part of the ligamentous apparatus of the knee to stabilize the knee joint (Articulatio genus). Like the ligament structures of all joints, the posterior cruciate ligament consists mainly of collagen fibers, i.e. connective tissue.

Posterior cruciate ligament illustration

Illustration of the right knee joint with the posterior cruciate ligament (red) from behind (A), and from above (B)
  1. Posterior cruciate ligament -
    Lig. Cruciatum posterius
  2. Inner band -
    Lig. Collateral tibial
  3. Inner meniscus -
    Meniscus medialis
  4. Shin community -
    Corpus tibiae
  5. Calf community -
    Corpus fibulae
  6. Outer meniscus -
    Lateral meniscus
  7. Outer band -
    Lig. Collaterale fibulare
  8. Femur - Femur
  9. Intergranular pit -
    Intercondylar fossa
  10. Inner joint gnar -
    Medial condyle
  11. Anterior cruciate ligament -
    Ligament cruciatum anterius
  12. Transverse ligament of the knee joint -
    Transverse ligament genus
  13. Kneecap ligament -
    Ligament patellae

You can find an overview of all Dr-Gumpert images at: medical illustrations


The posterior cruciate ligament belongs to the holding apparatus of the Knee joint, but actually lies outside the articular surface of the knee. It is separated from the joint cavity by a mucous membrane sac.
The posterior cruciate ligament pulls away internal knot of the femur (Medial condyle) from the front / top / inside to the rear surface of the elevation in the middle of the tibia plateau, i.e. backwards / downwards / outside.
It runs in exactly the opposite direction to the anterior cruciate ligament, which increases stability.

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Since the articular surface (the condyles) of Thighbone significantly larger than the joint surface (Tibial plateau) of the tibia, the knee joint needs strong ligament stabilization.
The Cruciate ligaments serve in the movements of the Knee joint as passive guidance and limit the extension in the knee joint.
The posterior cruciate ligament also prevents the shin from sliding backwards. In addition, the posterior cruciate ligament makes rotation in the knee more difficult.
In all positions of the knee joint, at least parts of the Cruciate ligaments streamlined. This makes their important function in stabilizing the knee joint clear.


A rupture (tear) of the posterior cruciate ligament (posterior cruciate ligament tear) is relatively rare in isolation. It is usually part of complex traumas that result from massive external violence.
The rupture of the posterior cruciate ligament is also called a dashboard injury because it is more common in car accidents in which the lower legs are pressed against the dashboard.
A tear in the posterior cruciate ligament is associated with pain and instability of the knee joint. This instability shows up impressively in the so-called rupture "Drawer phenomenon": With the leg bent and the thigh fixed, the lower leg can be pushed back like a drawer.