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Anterolateral ligament

Recommended video: Tibia and fibula [21:57]
Bones and joints of the lower leg.

The anterolateral ligament is one of the newest anatomical finds in the orthopedic world of medicine to date. Dr. Steven Claes and Dr. Johan Bellemans are two orthopedic surgeons from the University Hospital of Leuven who spent four years researching pivot shifts in the knee and why they still seem to occur even after the anterior cruciate ligament(ACL) had been successfully operated on.

  1. Anatomy of the anterolateral ligament (ALL)
  2. Clinical note
  3. Sources
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The knee as a whole is an extremely complex and delicate anatomical instrument that is usually subject to wear and tear especially among athletes.  Extensive research and new surgical techniques are continuously being tried out in order to keep the knee as healthy and as functional as possible for as long as is realistically allowed.

Knee joint - anterior (left) & posterior (right) views

As it happens, the theory that an extra ligament could exist on knee has been around since 1879 when a french surgeon named Paul Segond documented his findings. This hypothesis was further examined by the Belgian surgeons from Leuven, in order to solve the mystery as to the continuing complaint of joint pivot shifts, who managed to positively confirm the theory.

Anatomy of the anterolateral ligament (ALL)

Since 2013, the anterolateral ligament has been confirmed to originate from the lateral epicondyle of the femur and insert into the anterolateral aspect of the proximal tibia.

Anterolateral ligament (lateral view)

It has been debated since if the origin is indeed where it has been previously stated or whether it comes from the lateral femoral condyle, which remains to be seen.

This anatomical structure is thought to be present in up to 79% of the world’s current human population and functions to stabilize the knee during medial rotation. Therefore, when a patient presents with a pivot shift and an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury, it is now known that this occurrence is more than likely due to an anterolateral ligament (ALL) injury.

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