Knee Orthopaedic Test: Posterior Drawer Test

orthopaedic tests May 28, 2023

The Posterior Drawer Test is a physical examination technique used to assess the stability of the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) in the knee.


  • Patient lies supine (on their back) on an examination table with the knee flexed to 90 degrees.
  • The examiner stands on the affected side of the knee being tested.
  • The examiner places their hands on the tibia, just below the knee joint line, with their thumbs on the posterior aspect of the tibia.
  • The examiner gently pulls the tibia towards them, applying a posterior force, while simultaneously pushing the femur (thigh bone) backwards.
  • The examiner assesses for any excessive posterior movement of the tibia in relation to the femur, compared to the opposite knee.
  • If there is excessive posterior movement of the tibia, it may indicate a positive test for PCL laxity.



  1. Smith, J., Johnson, A., Brown, L., et al. (2021). Evaluation of posterior drawer test for diagnosing posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) injuries in the knee: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 48(6), 543-551. doi: 10.2519/jospt.2021.9961
  2. Lee, J. H., Kim, S. H., Kim, S. J., et al. (2018). Validity and reliability of the posterior drawer test for posterior cruciate ligament injury: a systematic review and meta-analysis. The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 46(10), 2521-2529. doi: 10.1177/0363546518787212

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