The word 'cruciate' means 'crossed', and in the knee the term relates to the cruciate ligaments right in the middle of the knee.

Page updated July 2023 by Dr Sheila Strover (Clinical Editor)

bent knee showing position of cruciate ligaments


The arrow shows the anterior cruciate ligament in the front, and the posterior cruciate ligament can be visualised behind it.

The crossed structure of the two cruciate ligaments allows bending and straightening of the knee, while keeping the knee stable and preventing the two big bones from moving front and backwards in relation to one another.


Some people are born without the cruciate ligaments

It is rare, but some people are born without cruciate ligaments. Not all are symptomatic.

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Dr Sheila Strover (Editor)
BSc (Hons), MB BCh, MBA

See biography...