A review of the anterolateral ligament of the knee: current knowledge regarding its incidence, anatomy, biomechanics, and surgical dissection

Arthroscopy. 2015 Mar;31(3):583-91. doi: 10.1016/j.arthro.2014.09.010. Epub 2014 Nov 8.


Purpose: To systematically review current literature on the anterolateral ligament (ALL) of the knee.

Methods: We searched the PubMed/Medline database for publications specifically addressing the ALL. We excluded studies not written in English, studies not using human cadavers or subjects, and studies not specifically addressing the ALL. Data extraction related to the incidence, anatomy, morphometry, biomechanics, and histology of the ALL and its relation to the Segond fracture was performed.

Results: The incidence of the ALL ranged from 83% to 100%, and this range occurs because of small discrepancies in the definition of the ALL's bony insertions. The ALL originates anterior and distal to the femoral attachment of the lateral collateral ligament. It spans the joint in an oblique fashion and inserts between the fibular head and Gerdy tubercle on the tibia. Exact anatomic and morphometric descriptions vary in the literature, and there are discrepancies regarding the ALL's attachment to the capsule and lateral meniscus. The ALL is a contributor to tibial internal rotation stability, and histologically, it exhibits parallel, crimped fibers consistent with a ligamentous microstructure. The footprint of the ALL has been shown to be at the exact location of the Segond fracture.

Conclusions: The ALL is a distinct ligamentous structure at the anterolateral aspect of the knee, and it is likely involved in tibial internal rotation stability and the Segond fracture.

Level of evidence: Level IV, systematic review of anatomic and imaging studies.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Cadaver
  • Dissection
  • Femur / anatomy & histology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Knee / anatomy & histology*
  • Knee / physiology
  • Knee / surgery
  • Knee Joint / anatomy & histology*
  • Knee Joint / physiology
  • Knee Joint / surgery
  • Ligaments, Articular / anatomy & histology*
  • Ligaments, Articular / physiology*
  • Ligaments, Articular / surgery
  • Rotation
  • Tibia / anatomy & histology