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Posterior drawer test

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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The posterior drawer test is used to test the posterior cruciate ligaments and is the most sensitive test for diagnosis of a PCL tear (sensitivity 90%, specificity 98%). (1)

The knee is flexed to 80 degrees and the examiner sits upon the end of the foot to steady it. An attempt is then made to jerk the tibia backwards. Maximum displacement of more than 1cm may indicate rupture of the posterior cruciate tendon. This might have been predicted if there was observation of the tibia subluxing upon the femur.

Both sides are compared.

Click here for a video of posterior draw test


  1. Montgomery SR, Johnson JS, McAllister DR, et al. Surgical management of PCL injuries: indications, techniques, and outcomes. Curr Rev Musculoskelet Med. 2013 Jun;6(2):115-23.

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