Anatomy & Organs

Cruciate Ligament – Structure, Function & Diseases

Cruciate ligament

The cruciate ligaments are among the most important supporting ligaments in the knee joint . In addition to the inner and outer ligaments, the cruciate ligaments ensure stability in the joint. In the case of injuries to the cruciate ligament ( cruciate ligament tear ), joint stability is severely limited or no longer available.

What is the cruciate ligament?

The Ligamenta cruciata genus – the cruciate ligaments – are part of the main apparatus of the knee joint. In addition to the inner ligament – the ligamentum collaterale tibiale – and the outer ligament – the ligamentum collaterale fibulare – the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments ensure the stability of the joint.

As the name suggests, the cruciate ligaments cross in the center of the knee joint. The main task is to maintain stability during joint movement.

Anatomy & Structure

The anterior cruciate ligament lies between the tibia and the femur. The cruciate ligament runs from the front downwards or inwards. Thus, the direction of the course of the anterior cruciate ligament is in the opposite direction to that of the posterior cruciate ligament.

The anterior cruciate ligament is arterially supplied via the Arteria genus media. The distribution of blood vessels in the anterior cruciate ligament is not homogeneous. However, the center of the cruciate ligament is devoid of blood vessels. The posterior cruciate ligament also runs between the femur and the tibia .

However, the posterior cruciate ligament runs forwards to the top or inwards and from the back downwards or outwards. The direction of the posterior cruciate ligament runs in the opposite direction to the anterior cruciate ligament.

Function & Tasks

The anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments are responsible for stabilization in the knee joint. Doctors assume that the cruciate ligaments are among the most important factors responsible for a stable knee joint.

The bands cross in the middle of the course, which is why they have been given the name “Kreuzband”. The greatest stress is on the anterior cruciate ligament.

At the same time, it is one of the most stressed ligaments in the knee joint and is largely responsible for the joint remaining stable during movement.

The anterior cruciate ligament is also responsible for limiting the rotation of the knee joint. The posterior cruciate ligament has the task of stabilizing the knee joint with the other ligaments during movement. The posterior cruciate ligament, in conjunction with the other ligaments in the knee joint, also ensures that the rotation of the joint is restricted.

Diseases & Ailments

If the knee is crossed or forcibly bent while tightening the thigh muscles, the anterior cruciate ligament tears. With a tear in the anterior cruciate ligament, further injuries to the knee joint are possible.Complex injuries often occur, such as damage to the medial meniscus as well as an injury to the medial ligament. The doctor speaks of an “unhappy triad” when all three factors (inner meniscus, inner ligament and anterior cruciate ligament) are injured. The patient complains of a severely swelling bruise in the knee joint due to a tear in the anterior cruciate ligament.

The knee can be pushed forward (the drawer effect) with a feeling of instability (giving way). The patient also complains of pain and limitations in his mobility. As a rule, the injured cruciate ligament is not sewn up; rather, it is operationally replaced. This surgical method leads to the best long-term results. In an anterior cruciate ligament surgery, a tendon is removed between the tibia and kneecap and formed into a new anterior cruciate ligament.

The posterior cruciate ligament can also tear. Here, too, only if there is a direct force on the knee joint when it is bent. Overstretching can also sometimes be responsible for tearing the posterior cruciate ligament. Statistically, however, the posterior cruciate ligament tears less often than the anterior cruciate ligament. When the posterior cruciate ligament is torn, the knee joint swells and causes pain to the patient . Many patients also complain of joint effusion .

In contrast to a tear in the anterior cruciate ligament, the knee joint is displaced backwards. The person is also limited in mobility. It is no longer possible to straighten the knee joint. However, a complex injury rarely if ever occurs. When the posterior cruciate ligament is torn, surgery is rarely performed. As a rule, this is only carried out for young people who are active in sports. Here, too, the cruciate ligament is replaced by a tendon of the kneecap. However, the operation is rarely used because the posterior cruciate ligament heals itself with proper treatment and splinting.

Strains or gentle tears in the cruciate ligament are also possible and are considered long-term injuries. Injuries to the cruciate ligament (especially the anterior ligament) are serious injuries and can sometimes cause long-term damage (the patient can no longer bend or straighten the knee 100%); long physical therapies are therefore unavoidable and necessary after operations.

Website | + posts

Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.