Ankle Gives It Up for the KneeThe anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in the knee is a commonly injured knee ligament. The usual treatment is to repair or replace the torn ACL. This can be done using a piece of "donor" ligament from the patient called an autograft. When the replacement tendon comes from another person, it is called an allograft.
Whenever possible, doctors like to use an autograft. Usually the donor site is the hamstring or patellar tendon. Sometimes, an autograft isn't possible, and an allograft is needed. Unfortunately, the need for allografts is greater than the supply. For this reason, researchers are looking for another source of graft material that will work as well.
Scientists experimented with two allograft tendons (anterior and posterior tibialis) from the lower leg and ankle. They folded the donor tendon in half. This formed a single loop of replacement tendon. This single-loop was as strong or stronger than autograft tendon from the hamstring muscle.
Tibialis allografts to replace the ACL compare favorably with other grafts currently in use. They have the same structure, same amount of stiffness, and same strength. These may become a new source of donor tissue for a torn ACL.
Tammy L. Haut Donahue, PhD, et al. A Biomechanical Evaluation of Anterior and Posterior Tibialis Tendons as Suitable Single-Loop Anterior Cruciate Ligament Grafts. In Arthroscopy. July/August 2002. Vol. 18. No. 6. Pp. 589-597.
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