New ligament discovered in the human knee
Two knee surgeons have discovered a previously unknown ligament in the
human knee. This ligament appears to play an important role in patients with
anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears.
Despite a successful
ACL repair surgery and rehabilitation, some patients with ACL-repaired knees
continue to experience so-called 'pivot shift', or episodes where the knee
'gives way' during activity. For the last four years, orthopaedic surgeons Dr
Steven Claes and Professor Dr Johan Bellemans have been conducting research into
serious ACL injuries in an effort to find out why. Their starting point: an 1879
article by a French surgeon that postulated the existence of an additional
ligament located on the anterior of the human knee.
That postulation turned
out to be correct: the Belgian doctors are the first to identify the previously
unknown ligament. Their research shows that the ligament, which was given the name
anterolateral ligament (ALL), is present in 97 per cent of all human knees.
Subsequent research shows that pivot shift, the giving way of the knee in
patients with an ACL tear, is caused by an injury in the ALL
Some of the conclusions were recently published in the
Journal of Anatomy. The Anatomical Society praised the research as
"very refreshing" and commended the researchers for reminding the medical world
that, despite the emergence of advanced technology, our knowledge of the basic
anatomy of the human body is not yet exhaustive.
The research questions
current medical thinking about serious ACL injuries and could signal a
breakthrough in the treatment of patients with serious ACL injuries. Dr Claes
and Professor Bellemans are currently working on a surgical technique to correct
ALL injuries. Those results will be ready in several
ACL tears are common among athletes in pivot-heavy
sports such as soccer, basketball, skiing and
To find out more about the physiotherapy services we can offer to help you with your ACL problems please contact us today for more information and to book an appointment.