Risk Assessment for Anterior Cruciate Ligament Injury

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Anterior cruciate ligament tears are one of the most frequent soft tissue injuries of the knee. A torn anterior cruciate ligament leaves the knee joint unstable and at risk for further damage to other soft tissues manifested as pain, dislocation, and osteoarthritis. A better understanding of the anatomical details of knee joints suffering anterior cruciate ligament tears is needed to understand and develop prediction models for anterior cruciate ligament injury and/or tear.

Materials and methods

Magnetic resonance images of 32 patients with anterior cruciate ligament tears and 40 patients with non-tears were evaluated from a physician group practice. Digital measurements of femoral condyle length, femoral notch width, anterior cruciate ligament width in the frontal and sagittal plane, and the anterior cruciate ligament length in the sagittal plane were taken in both groups to identify trends. Monte Carlo simulations were performed (n = 2000) to evaluate the relationship between notch width index and sagittal width and to establish functional relationships among the anatomical parameters for potential injury risk. Sensitivity analysis performed shows the risk of anterior cruciate ligament injury a function of force and notch width index.


Females have a significantly shorter anterior cruciate ligament when compared to that of males. The notch width index was also significantly different between torn and non-torn individuals. The NWI was not significantly different between genders (p value = 0.40).


Anterior cruciate ligament injury has been shown to be caused by the forces which act on the ligament. These forces can result from hyperextension of the tibia or the internal rotation of tibia. The anatomical parameters of the knee joint (i.e., notch width index, anterior cruciate ligament width and length) have no role in the cause of an injury.



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