Our knees have an often-overlooked ligament that could be essential to recovering from injury.
Called the ALL, or anterolateral ligament, the band of fibrous tissue has always existed in humans and surgeons have seen it before, but the ligament has not been studied in great detail until now. A team of doctors dissected the knees of 41 human cadavers and looked at the parts of the joint under a microscope. All but one of the cadaver knees had the ligament, which connects the femur and tibia leg bones, the team reports in the October Journal of Anatomy.
Based on the position of the band of tissue, injury — but not repair — of the ALL could explain why some of the roughly 100,000 people who have ACL, anterior cruciate ligament, reconstructions each year in the United States still experience their knees giving out during activity.
Editor's note: The headline and story were updated November 11, 2013 to clarify the new information published about the ALL.
Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.