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article imageSurgeons find new body part explaining ACL knee injuries

By Lesley Lanir     Nov 7, 2013 in Health
Leuven - Two knee surgeons at University Hospitals Leuven have discovered a new body part in the human knee that may help doctors understand why many patients' knees tend to 'give away' even after treatment for ligament injuries.
Research conducted over four years by Orthopedic surgeons Dr Steven Claes and Professor Dr Johan Bellemans of the University Hospitals Leuven, into serious anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries has resulted in the two knee surgeons finding a new ligament.
According to the research, some patients even after ACL repair surgery and rehabilitation tend to suffer from 'pivot shift', where the knee 'gives way' during activity. Claes and Bellemans, based on an article from 1879, theorised that an extra ligament, anterolateral ligament (ALL), may be causing the problem.
They studied 41 knees that had had ASL injuries and repairs and 40 knees were found to have the ALL ligament present. Follow up research showed that pivot shift, the giving way of the knee in patients with an ACL tear, is caused by an injury in the ALL ligament.
This is the first study to give a detailed anatomical description of the anterolateral ligament (ALL) of the human knee.
The research has been published in the Journal of Anatomy in an article titled: Anatomy of the anterolateral ligament of the knee.
This study has received praise from the Anatomical Society for being refreshing in that it reminds "the medical world that, despite the emergence of advanced technology, our knowledge of the basic anatomy of the human body is not yet exhaustive."
The study concludes by saying that the findings "could be highly relevant for clinical practice. However, further research is needed to establish the function of the ALL and to determine its role in clinical knee injuries."
ACL injuries are common among athletes in pivot-heavy sports such as soccer, basketball, skiing and football and a tear in this ligament happens when the knee is twisted forcefully whilst the foot is firmly placed on the ground or upon landing.
More about ACL tear, University Hospitals Leuven, Johan Bellemans, anterolateral ligament ALL, Knee injuries
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