Cruciate ligaments (also cruciform ligaments) are pairs of ligaments arranged like a letter X. 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.
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.
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.
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