Summary and Future Directions


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Abstract

Ligaments are highly organized loose connective tissues that look simple, but they are not. They have very complex structures, functions, and biology making them a challenge to understand and an even bigger challenge to heal, restore, or replace. Their functional loss and failure to regenerate can, unfortunately, cause considerable clinical disability with symptoms of pain and instability; potentially leading to degenerative arthritis. There are many groups in the world now interested in addressing these interesting structures, their mechanical and physiological roles and their clinical problems from a variety of different perspectives. We present only a cross-section of these views, covering work on two knee ligaments (the MCL and the ACL) recognizing that they are only “the beginning.” We are making progress toward understanding how normal ligaments work, what some of the problems are that inhibit or prevent total functional restoration and some of the things that can be done to improve their repair now and into the future.

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