A Layered Anatomic Description of the Anterolateral Complex of the Knee

Clin Sports Med. 2018 Jan;37(1):1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.csm.2017.07.001. Epub 2017 Sep 18.


Variability in anatomic terminology, dissection protocols, and use of embalmed as opposed to fresh frozen specimens has led to the controversy surrounding the "anterolateral ligament of the knee." Conceptually the complex anatomy of the anterolateral knee is made up of the superficial, middle, deep, and capsulo-osseous layers of the iliotibial band. The anterolateral capsule is deep to these tissues and is directly attached to the lateral meniscus. These structures collectively form the anterolateral complex of the knee. The anterolateral complex in conjunction with the anterior cruciate ligament function to prevent anterolateral rotatory instability of the knee.

Keywords: Anterolateral complex; Anterolateral ligament; Capsule; Iliotibial band; Knee.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cadaver
  • Humans
  • Knee Joint / anatomy & histology*
  • Knee Joint / physiology
  • Ligaments, Articular / anatomy & histology
  • Ligaments, Articular / physiology
  • Tendons / anatomy & histology
  • Tendons / physiology