Femoral entheseal shape and attachment angle as potential risk factors for anterior cruciate ligament injury

Callan M. Luetkemeyer, Benjamin C. Marchi, James A. Ashton-Miller, Ellen M. Arruda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although non-contact human ACL tears are a common knee injury, little is known about why they usually fail near the femoral enthesis. Recent histological studies have identified a range of characteristic femoral enthesis tidemark profiles and ligament attachment angles. We tested the effect of the tidemark profile and attachment angle on the distribution of strain across the enthesis, under a ligament stretch of 1.1. We employed a 2D analytical model followed by 3D finite element models using three constitutive forms and solved with ABAQUS/Standard. The results show that the maximum equivalent strain was located in the most distal region of the ACL femoral enthesis. It is noteworthy that this strain was markedly increased by a concave (with respect to bone) entheseal profile in that region as well as by a smaller attachment angle, both of which are features more commonly found in females. Although the magnitude of the maximum equivalent strain predicted was not consistent among the constitutive models used, it did not affect the relationship observed between entheseal shape and maximum equivalent strain. We conclude that a concave tidemark profile and acute attachment angle at the femoral ACL enthesis increase the risk for ACL failure, and that failure is most likely to begin in the most distal region of that enthesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)313-321
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials
StatePublished - Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • ACL
  • Attachment angle
  • Enthesis
  • Injury
  • Mechanics
  • Risk factor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials


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