At University Hospitals Leuven, two researchers have just discovered a “new” ligament in the human knee.  This ligament seems to be a factor involved in the common ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) injury in athletes.

Despite the enormous success rate that modern orthopedic surgeons provide, there are still a handful of people who undergo a “successful” ACL repair surgery that report complications afterwards.  The most common complaint is that the knee will suddenly “give out” as though they were being kicked from behind.  Obviously, this is a serious issue that can actually lead to another injury.

During the last four years Dr. Claes, and Dr. Bellemans at University Hospitals Leuven have been researching ACL injuries and possible causes.  Their research started out by studying the research of a French surgeon who lived in the 1800’s who proposed that there may be an additional ligament in the front of the knee that has yet to be discovered.  Following this proposal, the two researchers were able to verify and identify the previously unknown ligament after a study performed on cadavers using macroscopic dissection.  The researchers found that the the new ligament called the Anterlateral Ligament (ALL), is present in almost 97% of all human knees.  Additional research suggests that the “giving out” sensation experienced by so many people who have underwent ACL repair surgery is, in fact, an additional injury to the newly Anterolateral Ligament, not some abstract complication with the ACL


Pictured above, is the newly discovered Anterolateral Ligament (ALL).

Photo Credit:  University Hospitals Leuven

The research done by Dr. Claes and Bellemans truly demonstrates how little we actually know.  Yes, modern science and academia have a very solid grasp on the human body, its functions, and its parts, but it would seem as though one can never be too confident.  This newly found ligament is going to make a big splash in the sports medicine world.  Everyone has heard of the common ACL injury, but now people will start hearing about athletes injuring their ALLs.  Hopefully this new research, and the subsequent medical procedures that will develop from it will help all of those with complications following ACL repair surgery!

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