Oblique popliteal ligament

Dr Joachim Feger et al.

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° in relation 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.

Attachments

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.

Anatomy: General

Article information

rID: 75980
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Oblique popliteal ligament (OPL)

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: posterior ligaments (Gray's illustrations)
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  • Figure 2: posterior knee anatomy (illustrations)
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