A 'plane' explanation of anterior cruciate ligament injury mechanisms: A systematic review

Carmen E. Quatman, Catherine C. Quatman-Yates, Timothy E. Hewett

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

94 Scopus citations


Although intrinsic and extrinsic risk factors for anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury have been explored extensively, the factors surrounding the inciting event and the biomechanical mechanisms underlying ACL injury remain elusive. This systematic review summarizes all the relevant data and clarifies the strengths and weaknesses of the literature regarding ACL injury mechanisms. The hypothesis is that most ACL injuries do not occur via solely sagittal, frontal or transverse plane mechanisms. Electronic database literature searches of PubMed MEDLINE (19662008), CINAHL (19822008) and SportDiscus® (19852008) were used for the systematic review to identify any studies in the literature that examined ACL injury mechanisms. Methodological approaches that describe and evaluate ACL injury mechanisms included athlete interviews, arthroscopic studies, clinical imaging and physical exam tests, video analysis, cadaveric studies, laboratory tests (motion analysis, electromyography) and mathematical modelling studies. One hundred and ninety-eight studies associated with ACL injury mechanisms were identified and provided evidence regarding plane of injury, with evidence supporting sagittal, frontal andor transverse plane mechanisms of injury. Collectively, the studies indicate that it is highly probable that ACL injuries are more likely to occur during multi-planar rather than single-planar mechanisms of injury.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)729-746
Number of pages18
JournalSports Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2010


  • Ligament-injuries
  • pathogenesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation


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