Oblique popliteal ligament

Last revised by Joachim Feger on 14 Nov 2021

The oblique popliteal ligament (OPL) is a large ligamentous structure of the posterior knee and one of the five components of the posteromedial corner (PMC). It mainly prevents hyperextension in the knee 1-3 and in addition, it is thought to prevent excessive external rotation 1.

Gross anatomy

It is a broad, flat ligament of the posterior knee joint, overlying the posterior joint capsule with a diagonal course at an angle of ca. 30° to the knee joint 1,2. There are significant variabilities in shape as well as attachments, although main insertions and course seem to be relatively stable 1. Band-shaped, Y-shaped, Z-shaped, trident shaped and complex shaped forms have been described 1.


Medial insertions are a lateral expansion of the semimembranosus tendon 1,2,4-6 and/or the posterior margin of the posteromedial tibia and as well as the posteromedial joint capsule and the capsular arm of the posterior oblique ligament 5

Lateral insertions are the meniscofemoral portion of the joint capsule, the fabella if present and the lateral head of the gastrocnemius muscle and the plantaris muscle 1,5,6.

ADVERTISEMENT: Supporters see fewer/no ads