The prevalence and morphological characteristics of the knee anterolateral ligament in a Chinese population

Hua Zhang, Man Qiu, Zhongwei Xu, Weilin Wang, Shiyang Chen, Jian Zhang, Aiguo Zhou, Kaihui Lu, Michael Huo, Dianming Jiang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations


The anterolateral ligament, a distinct structure connecting the lateral femoral epicondyle to the anterolateral proximal tibia, is gaining attention because of its possible function in ensuring internal rotational stability of the tibia. To study the prevalence and precise anatomical characteristics of the anterolateral ligament and its relationship to adjacent structures in a Chinese population, a total of 20 amputated knee specimens were collected. The anterolateral regions of the knees underwent detailed surgical dissection, followed by precise measurement of the anterolateral ligament and its adjacent structures. Histological analysis of the anterolateral ligament was performed using hematoxylin and eosin (H&E) staining. A thin soft tissue deep to the iliotibial band running obliquely across the lateral fibula ligament and connecting the lateral head of the gastrocnemius with the tibia, termed the 'gastrocnemius-tibial ligament' or superficial layer of the anterolateral ligament, was observed in 18 of the 20 specimens, corresponding to a prevalence of 90%. Furthermore, a well-defined anterolateral ligament deep to the gastrocnemius-tibial ligament and distinct from the lateral fibula ligament was found in all 20 knees (prevalence, 100%). The independent gastrocnemius-tibial ligament and anterolateral ligament had separate femoral originations at the lateral head of the gastrocnemius and the lateral femoral epicondyle, and the same osseous tibial insertion at the midpoint between Gerdy's tubercle and the most lateral aspect of the fibular head. H&E staining showed that both the anterolateral ligament and gastrocnemius-tibial ligament were ligaments consisting of collagenous bundles. In the Chinese Han population, the gastrocnemius-tibial ligament and anterolateral ligament may form a complex at the anterolateral aspect of the knee, which is likely involved in ensuring the internal rotational stability of the tibia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Anatomy
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018



  • Anterolateral ligament
  • Gastrocnemius-tibial ligament
  • Histology
  • Lateral fibula ligament

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Histology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology

Cite this