Orthopedic surgeons rediscover the existence of a new ligament in the human knee

The latest research is going to relieve patients with torn anterior cruciate ligaments (ACLs) who continue to experience excruciating pain despite surgical procedures and extensive physiotherapy programs.

The knee is a complex joint and is basically formed by the Femur, the Tibia and the knee cap or the Patella. ACL or the anterior cruciate ligaments are one of the four ligaments which connect the Femur to the Tibia.

The Knee can be described as a hinged joint and are held together by a set of four ligaments, the medial collateral (MCL), lateral collateral (LCL), anterior cruciate (ACL) and posterior cruciate (PCL) ligaments. The ACL can be seen in the middle of the knee, taking a diagonal course, and basically provides rotational stability to the knee as well as prevent the Tibia from sliding in front of the Femur.

The ligaments are often damaged during extreme stress common in games such as football and ice hockey which are characterized but sudden positional changes during the course of the games. This puts pressure on the ligaments which can get agonized and tear in extreme stress conditions. The situation requires surgical intervention. It is seen that after surgical procedures a large percentage of patients still complain of pain and difficulty in moving the joints.

The latest research on the anterolateral ligament (ALL) could provide an answer to the above conditions. The ALL or the anterolateral ligament has been comprehensively described by two Belgian surgeons and hinted that it could play a part in the treatment of torn anterior cruciate ligaments.

The existence of the ALL was first suggested by French surgeon Paul Segond in 1879 but was not followed up in the following years. Dr. Steven Claes and Dr. Johan Bellemans from University Hospitals Leuven have become the first orthopedic surgeons to  actually provide a full anatomical description of the ALL.

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