Predictive Refined Computational Modeling of ACL Tear Injury Patterns

Mirit Sharabi, Raz Agron, Amir Dolev, Rami Haj-Ali, Mustafa Yassin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) ruptures are prevalent knee injuries, with approximately 200,000 ruptures annually, and treatment costs exceed USD two billion in the United States alone. Typically, the initial detection of ACL tears and anterior tibial laxity (ATL) involves manual assessments like the Lachman test, which examines anterior knee laxity. Partial ACL tears can go unnoticed if they minimally affect knee laxity; however, they will progress to a complete ACL tear requiring surgical treatment. In this study, a computational finite element model (FEM) of the knee joint was generated to investigate the effect of partial ACL tears under the Lachman test (GNRB® testing system) boundary conditions. The ACL was modeled as a hyperelastic composite structure with a refined representation of collagen bundles. Five different tear types (I–V), classified by location and size, were modeled to predict the relationship between tear size, location, and anterior tibial translation (ATT). The results demonstrated different levels of ATT that could not be manually detected. Type I tears demonstrated an almost linear increase in ATT, with the growth in tear size ranging from 3.7 mm to 4.2 mm, from 25% to 85%, respectively. Type II partial tears showed a less linear incline in ATT (3.85, 4.1, and 4.75 mm for 25%, 55%, and 85% partial tears, respectively). Types III, IV, and V maintained a nonlinear trend, with ATTs of 3.85 mm, 4.2 mm, and 4.95 mm for Type III, 3.85 mm, 4.25 mm, and 5.1 mm for Type IV, and 3.6 mm, 4.25 mm, and 5.3 mm for Type V, for 25%, 55%, and 85% partial tears, respectively. Therefore, for small tears (25%), knee stability was most affected when the tears were located around the center of the ligament. For moderate tears (55%), the effect on knee stability was the greatest for tears at the proximal half of the ACL. However, severe tears (85%) demonstrated considerable growth in knee instability from the distal to the proximal ends of the tissue, with a substantial increase in knee instability around the insertion sites. The proposed model can enhance the characterization of partial ACL tears, leading to more accurate preliminary diagnoses. It can aid in developing new techniques for repairing partially torn ACLs, potentially preventing more severe injuries.

Original languageEnglish
Article number413
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2024


  • anterior cruciate ligament
  • anterior tibial translation
  • composite material
  • finite element
  • Lachman test
  • partial tears


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