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PT and the City

The Anterolateral Ligament

Published November 14, 2013 4:56 PM by Lisa Mueller

Last week, healthcare news was focused on the discovery of a new ligament of the knee by two surgeons in Belgium, coined the anterolateral ligament (ALL). The ALL connects on the anterior lateral portion of the tibia proximally to the posterior lateral femur. ABC News reported that articles dating back to 1879 included discussion on the anterior knee connective tissue, although it was unnamed until last week.

Rewind to my blog post from last week, where I wrote "the origins and insertions of muscles haven't changed much"... and now I find myself in the face of some strong evidence indicating the opposite. Yes, even in 2013 we are still finding new areas of anatomy! The ALL may now be connected to more research of knee stability and ACL injuries, and that's only the beginning.

I heard about this news story on Friday from some of my colleagues, and even as I sit here on Sunday typing this post, many of the health news websites I read (Wall Street Journal Health, CNN Health, Google News with keyword health) already have the story shifting toward the bottom of the page with newer stories prepped on top.

The timing of the ALL news coinciding with my blog from last week was a professional "aha" for me to not be so confident in what I think I know. There are always new developments in health, medicine and physical therapy and we must be advocates to find the supporting research. Things I learned in school may no longer be effective treatments for physical therapy but that cannot be discovered until the research is completed. The real challenge is in holding all physical therapists accountable to assist with the research.

What do you think? Will the ALL be the focus of upcoming research? Are you surprised anatomy is still being discovered?

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1 comments

I was reading the responses to the NY Times article about the ALL. Often times the responses are more interesting than the articles themselves. There were a number of orthopaedic surgeons who claim this is not a new discovery but rather a rehash of a previously identified but forgotten structure, some even say it isn't a true ligament but rather a thickening of the capsule. The debate rages on apparently. This does highlight, as you've stated, that sometimes we need to question even that which we "know". It is the continuous evolution of knowledge that makes this profession interesting, dynamic, and sometimes exhausting.

Dean Metz November 15, 2013 6:19 AM

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