Cruciate ligament

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Illustration of the ligaments of the knee, including the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments

Cruciate ligaments (also cruciform ligaments) are pairs of ligaments arranged like a letter X.[1] They occur in several joints of the body, such as the knee. In a fashion similar to the cords in a toy Jacob's ladder, the crossed ligaments stabilize the joint while allowing a very large range of motion.


Cruciate ligaments occur in the knee of humans and other bipedal animals and the corresponding stifle of quadrupedal animals, and in the neck, fingers, and foot.

  • The cruciate ligaments of the knee are the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL). These ligaments are two strong, rounded bands that extend from the head of the tibia to the intercondyloid notch of the femur. The ACL is lateral and the PCL is medial. They cross each other like the limbs of an X. They are named for their insertion into the tibia: the ACL attaches to the anterior aspect of the intercondylar area, the PCL to the posterior aspect. The ACL and PCL remain distinct throughout and each has its own partial synovial sheath. Relative to the femur, the ACL keeps the tibia from slipping forward and the PCL keeps the tibia from slipping backward.
  • Another structure of this type in human anatomy is the cruciate ligament of the dens of the atlas vertebra, also called "cruciform ligament of the atlas", a ligament in the neck forming part of the atlanto-axial joint.[2]
  • In the fingers, the deep and superficial flexor tendons pass through a fibro-osseous tunnel system – the flexor mechanism – of annular and cruciate ligaments called pulleys. The cruciate pulleys tether the long flexor tendons. The number and extent of these cruciate and annular ligaments varies among individuals, but three cruciate and four or five annular ligaments are normally found in each finger (usually referred to as, for example, "A1 pulley" and "C1 pulley"). The thumb has a similar system for its long flexor tendon but with a single oblique pulley replacing the cruciate pulleys found in the fingers.[3]
  • The human foot has a cruciate crural ligament, also known as inferior extensor retinaculum of foot. The equine foot has a pair of cruciate distal sesamoidean ligaments in the metacarpophalangeal joint. These ligaments can be seen using computed tomography.[4]

Clinical significance[edit]


Rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament is one of the "most frequent acquired diseases of the stifle joint"[5] in humans, dogs, and cats; direct trauma to the joint is relatively uncommon and age appears to be a major factor.[5]

Cruciate ligament injuries are common in animals, and in 2005 a study estimated that $1.32 billion was spent in the United States in treating the cranial cruciate ligament of dogs.[6]



In the first edition[7] of the official Latin nomenclature (Nomina Anatomica, rebaptized in 1998 as Terminologia Anatomica), the Latin expression ligamenta cruciata was used, similar to the expression cruciate ligaments currently in use in English.[8] The nomenclature committee of the Basle Nomenclature Anatomica intended to use the past participle cruciata, derived from the verb cruciare, to refer to crossed.[9] In classical Latin the verb cruciare is derived from crux,[10] with the latter noun meaning cross.[10] Reference works from those days[11] considered Latin cruciatus and English cruciate equivalent to cross-shaped.

In classical Latin, cruciare however means to torture and to torment and not to cross.[10] Early Christian writers, like Lactantius, used cruciare in the sense of to crucify.[10] English cruciate, derived from Latin cruciatus,[12] used to refer similarly to tortured and tormented.[12] The English translation of the list of Latin names of the Basle Nomina Anatomica partially circumvented this problem by using crucial ligaments instead of cruciate ligaments,[13] as crucialis is absent in the classical Latin vocabulary, with crucial in English meaning crosswise or in the form of a cross.[14]

The second edition of Nomina Anatomica replaced this expression by ligamenta decussata genus,[15] and mentioned explicitly[16] that the former adjective cruciata could refer to crucified.[16] The classical Latin verb decussare means to divide crosswise, in the form of an X [10] with its 'English' equivalent to decussate.[10] In Latin, number ten (decem [10]) is written as X.[9] The term decussis, derived from[10][9] decem and as, unit,[10] was also used to refer to this specific numerical designation X.[10] The Latin verb decussare is derived from this specific noun decussis.[10][9] Earlier it was suggested to replace the adjective cruciatus by the adjective chiastus,[17] which is a Latinization of Ancient Greek χιαστός,[17] in the shape of a X.[17][18] The Greek Χ is the upper-case of the letter chi, with a similar shape to the Latin X, denoting ten. In modern Greek a cruciate ligament is similarly called χιατός σύνδεσμος,[19] with σύνδεσμος meaning ligament.[19]

The subsequent edition of the Nomina Anatomica,[20] approved in 1955, reverted back this correction made in the Iena Nomina Anatomica. Subsequent editions[21][22][23][24][25][26] still used this incorrect form, despite criticism.[20][22]


  1. ^ Daniel John Cunningham and Arthur Robinson (1918). Cunningham's text-book of anatomy (5th ed.). Oxford Press. p. 1593. 
  2. ^ Anatomy of Spinal Vertebrae Tutorial.
  3. ^ Austin, Noelle M. (2005). "Chapter 9: The Wrist and Hand Complex". In Levangie, Pamela K.; Norkin, Cynthia C. Joint Structure and Function: A Comprehensive Analysis (4th ed.). Philadelphia: F. A. Davis Company. pp. 327–28. ISBN 0-8036-1191-9. 
  4. ^ Vanderperren K, Ghaye B, Snaps FR, Saunders JH (May 2008). "Evaluation of computed tomographic anatomy of the equine metacarpophalangeal joint". Am. J. Vet. Res. 69 (5): 631–8. doi:10.2460/ajvr.69.5.631. PMID 18447794. 
  5. ^ a b Neãas A., J . Zatloukal, H. Kecová, M. Dvofiák: Predisposition of Dog Breeds to Rupture of Cranial Cruciate Ligament. Acta Vet. Brno 2000, 69: 305-310..
  6. ^ Wilke VL. (2005). Estimate of the annual economic impact of treatment of cranial cruciate ligament injury in dogs in the United States. Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association.
  7. ^ His, W. (1895). Die anatomische Nomenclatur. Nomina Anatomica. Der von der Anatomischen Gesellschaft auf ihrer IX. Versammlung in Basel angenommenen Namen. Leipzig: Verlag Veit & Comp.
  8. ^ Anderson, D.M. (2000). Dorland’s illustrated medical dictionary (29th edition). Philadelphia/London/Toronto/Montreal/Sydney/Tokyo: W.B. Saunders Company.
  9. ^ a b c d Triepel, H. (1910). Die anatomischen Namen. Ihre Ableitung und Aussprache. Mit einem Anhang: Biographische Notizen.(Dritte Auflage). Wiesbaden: Verlag J.F. Bergmann.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Lewis, C.T. & Short, C. (1879). A Latin dictionary founded on Andrews' edition of Freund's Latin dictionary. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  11. ^ Foster, F.D. (1891-1893). An illustrated medical dictionary. Being a dictionary of the technical terms used by writers on medicine and the collateral sciences, in the Latin, English, French, and German languages. New York: D. Appleton and Company.
  12. ^ a b Klein, E. (1971). A comprehensive etymological dictionary of the English language. Dealing with the origin of words and their sense development thus illustration the history of civilization and culture. Amsterdam: Elsevier Science B.V.
  13. ^ Barker, L.W. (1907). Anatomical terminology with special reference to the [BNA]. With vocabularies in Latin and English and illustrations. Philadelphia: P. Blakiston’s Son & Co.
  14. ^ Donald, J. (1880). Chambers's etymological dictionary of the English language.’’ London/Edinburgh: W. & R. Chambers.
  15. ^ Kopsch, F. (1941). Die Nomina anatomica des Jahres 1895 (B.N.A.) nach der Buchstabenreihe geordnet und gegenübergestellt den Nomina anatomica des Jahres 1935 (I.N.A.). Leipzig: Georg Thieme Verlag.
  16. ^ a b Stieve, H. (1949). Nomina Anatomica. Zusammengestellt von der im Jahre 1923 gewählten Nomenklatur-Kommission, unter Berücksichtigung der Vorschläge der Mitglieder der Anatomischen Gesellschaft, der Anatomical Society of Great Britain and Ireland, sowie der American Association of Anatomists, überprüft und durch Beschluß der Anatomischen Gesellschaft auf der Tagung in Jena 1935 endgültig angenommen. (4th edition). Jena: Verlag Gustav Fischer.
  17. ^ a b c Triepel, H. (1908b). Die anatomischen Namen. Ihre Ableitung und Aussprache.(Zweite Auflage). Wiesbaden: Verlag J.F. Bergmann.
  18. ^ Liddell, H.G. & Scott, R. (1940). A Greek-English Lexicon. revised and augmented throughout by Sir Henry Stuart Jones. with the assistance of. Roderick McKenzie. Oxford: Clarendon Press.
  19. ^ a b Schleifer, S.K. (Ed.) (2011). Corpus humanum, The human body, Le corps humain, Der menschliche Körper, Il corpo umano, El cuerpo humano, Ciało człowieka, Människokroppen, Menneskekroppen, Τό ανθρώπινο σῶμα, ЧЕЛОВЕК. FKG.
  20. ^ a b International Anatomical Nomenclature Committee (1955). Nomina Anatomica. London/Colchester:Spottiswoode, Ballantyne and Co. Ltd.
  21. ^ Donáth, T. & Crawford, G.C.N. (1969). Anatomical dictionary with nomenclature and explanatory notes. Oxford/London/Edinburgh/New York/Toronto/Syney/Paris/Braunschweig: Pergamon Press.
  22. ^ a b International Anatomical Nomenclature Committee (1966). Nomina Anatomica . Amsterdam: Excerpta Medica Foundation.
  23. ^ International Anatomical Nomenclature Committee (1977). Nomina Anatomica, together with Nomina Histologica and Nomina Embryologica. Amsterdam-Oxford: Excerpta Medica.
  24. ^ International Anatomical Nomenclature Committee (1983). Nomina Anatomica, together with Nomina Histologica and Nomina Embryologica. Baltimore/London: Williams & Wilkins
  25. ^ International Anatomical Nomenclature Committee (1989). Nomina Anatomica, together with Nomina Histologica and Nomina Embryologica. Edinburgh: Churchill Livingstone.
  26. ^ Federative Committee on Anatomical Terminology (1998). Terminologia Anatomica. Stuttgart: Thieme