A cruciate ligament is a large ligament right in the middle of the knee. There are two of them - anterior (ACL) and posterior (PCL).

cruciate ligaments

The word 'cruciate' means 'crossed', referring to the fact that the two cruciate ligaments cross over one another in the centre of the joint.

cruciate ligaments - bones distracted


Here the bones are distracted so that you can see the attachments of both anterior and posterior cruciate ligament.


What do the cruciate ligaments do?

These ligaments are very important structures, connecting the thighbone (femur) and the shinbone (tibia) and stabilising the joint from frontwards and backwards forces.

Crucial ligament

The cruciate ligaments

Illustrated overview of the position and function of the cruciate ligaments.

Cruciate Ligament Library

Library of excerpts from the medical literature about Cruciate Ligaments, with links to PubMed

What do the cruciate ligaments do?

The two cruciate ligaments work in tandem to stabilise the knee.


Biomechanics of the anterior cruciate ligament: Physiology, rupture and reconstruction techniques Domnick C, Raschke MJ and Herbort M. World J Orthop. 2016 Feb 18; 7(2): 82–93.

Management of Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury: What's In and What's Out? Raines BT, Naclerio E and Sherman SL. Indian J Orthop. 2017 Sep-Oct; 51(5): 563–575.

See also -

eBook about ACL repair in children

eBook - ACL Repair in Children

Simple eBook explaining why cruciate ligament issues in children are more complicated than in adults, and giving details of current interest in repair rather than reconstruction.