Knee Ligament Discovery Is Still Possible in 2013?

Knee Ligament Discovery Is Still Possible in 2013?

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New Knee Ligament: Anterolateral Ligament

For as long as we know, people have been studying the human body; how it works, how it’s made, and why it is the way it is.  Last Tuesday, two scientists from the University of Leuven, don’t worry, I already googled it, it’s in Belgium, were the first to provide a full anatomical description of the newly discovered ligament!

What is crazy about this new scientific discovery is that it involves everyone…well almost everyone.  In the 41 cadavers examined, all but one had this ligamentous structure.  This means most likely both you and I have this ligament in our knees.  This new ligament is named the Anterolateral Ligament (ALL).  Its main function, as of now, is to help with the control of the internal rotation of the tibia (shin bone).  It is described to have an affect on the “pivot shift” of the knee.

The pivot shift is a fancy word for when your knee feels unstable or “gives out” on you.  If a person has an Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tear they usually have a pivot shift.  Sometimes even after an ACL repair, this pivot shift remains.  That is why this is such a huge thing to know about this fibrous and pearly ligament we now call the ALL.  Although more research is needed, scientists are saying that along with an ACL tear they may also be an injury of the ALL. If surgeons are only fixing the ACL tear but not the ALL tear, the person may still have the giving away and unstable feeling in their knee.  Two orthopedic surgeons named Dr. Steven Claes and Professor Johan Bellemans have been wondering about why people still have giving way episodes after ACL surgery, with the new development of the ALL  findings, they have already started working on new surgical techniques to repair the ALL.  Reports state the techniques will hopefully be ready in a couple of years.

Some of you may be thinking, like me, with all of these MRIs and CT Scans and imaging devices we use in the medical field, how come they didn’t find this little guy earlier.   Great question!  They did have a hint about the now ALL back in 1879 when a French surgeon name Paul Segond suggested it in one of his research papers.

Since 1879 it has been somewhat of a confusing structure, no name, no clear description, nobody really even knew if it was its own structure or maybe part of the illiotibial band.  Others think maybe it wasn’t found before due to poor dissection methods or the ligament breaking down and notwithstanding its structure in older cadavers.  Either way, the Belgium guys were quite intrigued by it, studied it, and we are all very thankful! Here is some additional information about OSI Physical Therapy Sports Medicine Services and Sports Injury Treatment.

If you have a sports related injury or know someone who needs help feel free to shoot me an email at and I’ll help get you connected at OSI to get you back in action!

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– Kaitlen

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Anterolateral Ligament Video


Kaitlen Gullicksrud

Kaitlen Gullicksrud

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