There have been differing descriptions of the anterolateral structures of the knee, and not all have been named or described clearly. The aim of this study was to provide a clear anatomical interpretation of these structures. We dissected 40 fresh-frozen cadaveric knees to view the relevant anatomy and identified a consistent structure in 33 knees (83%); we termed this the anterolateral ligament of the knee. This structure passes antero-distally from an attachment proximal and posterior to the lateral femoral epicondyle to the margin of the lateral tibial plateau, approximately midway between Gerdy's tubercle and the head of the fibula. The ligament is superficial to the lateral (fibular) collateral ligament proximally, from which it is distinct, and separate from the capsule of the knee. In the eight knees in which it was measured, we observed that the ligament was isometric from 0° to 60° of flexion of the knee, then slackened when the knee flexed further to 90° and was lengthened by imposing tibial internal rotation.
Keywords: Anterolateral ligament; Instability; Knee anatomy; Pivot-shift; Rotational laxity; Segond fracture.