Ligament tension pattern in the flexed knee in combined passive anterior translation and axial rotation

J Orthop Res. 1992 Nov;10(6):854-67. doi: 10.1002/jor.1100100615.


Twenty-two fresh-frozen specimens were used to measure tensions generated in selected bands of the major ligaments of the flexed knee (40-90 degrees) when an axially prerotated tibia is subjected to passive anterior shear and when an anteriorly pretranslated tibia is subjected to passive axial torque. The tensions were measured using the buckle transducer attached to the anteromedial band of the anterior cruciate ligament [ACL (am)], the posterior fibers of the posterior cruciate ligament [PCL (pf)], the long fibers of the medial collateral ligament [MCL (lf)], and in the total lateral collateral ligament [LCL]. The knee specimens were subjected to the combined motions in a 6-df passive loading apparatus. The results indicated that the joint resistance to anterior translation increased markedly with internal prerotation and only marginally with external prerotation. This increase in joint resistance, however, was associated with a decrease in ACL function. It has been inferred that the posterior structures, capsular and meniscal, contribute significantly to joint resistance when the tibia is prerotated in either sense. For internal prerotation, the interference between the medial femoral condyle and the central tibial eminence was found to be an additional mechanism of resistance to anterior translation. Also, it has been found that although the ACL (am) tension increased with internal rotation in the normal case, it decreased with internal rotation in the presence of an anterior pretranslation. It is concluded that ACL response to combined joint motion cannot be ascertained by a simple summation of its responses to individual motions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anterior Cruciate Ligament / physiology
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / physiology*
  • Ligaments, Articular / physiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Movement
  • Posterior Cruciate Ligament / physiology
  • Rotation
  • Stress, Mechanical
  • Tensile Strength
  • Transducers
  • Weight-Bearing