Dictionary > Anterolateral


adj., [/ˌæntəroʊˈlætərəl/]
Definition: The region located at the front and on the sides of an organism; both anterior and lateral

Anterolateral Definition

Anterolateral is a term used in anatomy to describe the position of a structure as being away from the middle line, in front of the body.  The term is derived from Latin, with “ante” meaning “before” or “in front” and “lateralis” meaning “pertaining to the side”. Thus, anterolateral refers to a position that is located in front and to the side, which accurately describes its anatomical significance.

Etymology: The term “anterolateral” is a combination of the Latin words “ante” (meaning “before” or “in front”) and “lateralis” (meaning “pertaining to the side”), reflecting its meaning in biology.

Synonym: anteroside; lateral side; frontal lateral

Usage in Biology and Anatomy

In biology and anatomy, anterolateral is a term used to describe the location and structures in the front and on the sides of the body.

    • The anterolateral ligament of the knee joint pertains to a set of ligamentous structures vital in stabilizing the knee during knee flexion and movements. It interacts closely with the fibular collateral ligament, which runs along the outside of the knee
    • The anterolateral proximal tibia, in turn, refers to the front and side portion of the upper end (proximal) of the tibia bone in the leg.
    • The anterolateral joint capsule is a structure that surrounds and provides support to the knee joint. It is specifically located on the front and side of the knee.
    • The anterolateral central arteries, also known as lateral striate arteries, pertain to the numerous small branches from the sphenoidal portion of the middle cerebral arteries supplying the lateral and anterior parts of the corpus striatum.
    • The anterolateral column of the spinal cord, also referred to as the lateral funiculus, is the lateral white column of the spinal cord between the lines of exit and entrance of the anterior and posterior nerve roots.
    • The anterolateral fontanel, also known as the sphenoidal fontanel, is an irregularly shaped interval on either side where the frontal, sphenoidal angle of the parietal, squamous portion of the temporal and greater wing of the sphenoid meet.

Anterolateral Definition (by Health Matters):


Anterolateral Ligament

One of the important clinical implications of the term anterolateral is related to the field of medicine, particularly the surgical field. Surgeons have to properly identify and address the anterolateral ligaments situated in the lateral compartment of the knee for the appropriate reconstruction of anterolateral ligament abnormalities, such as avulsion fractures (often involving the distal femur), as there are other knee ligaments, such as the cruciate ligaments located within the joint space of the knee and runs from the front part of the tibia to the back part of the femur.

Two Belgian surgeons, Dr. Steven Claes and Professor Johan Bellemans, were the first to fully describe a ligament in the center of the front part of the knee, which they named anterolateral ligament (ALL). Their work also laid the groundwork for the conceptualization of the anterolateral ligament reconstruction, a surgical procedure that is commonly performed in treating knee surgery sports medicine. In cases of anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injuries, the concept of anterolateral ligament reconstruction as an additional procedure in conjunction with ACL reconstruction subsequently became available. The reconstruction is performed to enhance the stability of the injured knee bone joint. It involves the application of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to assess the condition of the anterolateral ligament and surrounding structures (such as the lateral tibial plateau, lateral femoral epicondyle, and lateral condyle).

Surgeons work and focus on the anterolateral aspect of the knee to mitigate internal rotation laxity and improve the joint’s overall integrity and reduce the risk of Segond fractures.

anterolateral ligament of the knee
The anterolateral ligament of the knee. Image Credit: University Hospital Leuven


  1. Wilke, J., & Krause, F. (2018). Anatomical localization of anterolateral ligament and description of related radiological signs. The Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, 100(10), e68.
  2. Moore, K. L., & Dalley, A. F. (2018). Clinically Oriented Anatomy. Wolters Kluwer.
  3. Gray, H. (1858). Anatomy, Descriptive and Surgical. Lea and Blanchard.
  4. Netter, F. H. (1989). Atlas of Human Anatomy. Ciba-Geigy.
  5. Hodgekiss, A. & Innes, E. (2013). Scientists discover a new body part in the KNEE – and it could explain why so many injured joints give way during exercise. dailymail.co.uk. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2488442/The-Anterolateral-ligament-scientists-discover-new-body-KNEE.html
  6. Kumar, D., Sontakke, Y.A., & Murugharaj, S.S. (2020, June 3). Truly Existing or Hyped up? Unravelling the Current Knowledge Regarding the Anatomy, Radiology, Histology and Biomechanics of the Enigmatic Anterolateral Ligament of the Knee Joint. Arch Bone Jt Surg. 8(3): 332-342. Doi: 10.22038/abjs.2019.40067.2074 https://www.researchgate.net/publication/341864235_Truly_Existing_or_Hyped_up_Unravelling_the_Current_Knowledge_Regarding_the_Anatomy_Radiology_Histology_and_Biomechanics_of_the_Enigmatic_Anterolateral_Ligament_of_the_Knee_Joint

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