Anatomy word of the month: Cruciate ligaments

February 2, 2012 —

Football knee injury“Cross-shaped” in Latin. In the knee joint are two ligaments that cross over each other, the anterior and posterior cruciate ligaments. These ligaments help stabilize the joint, in particular, to prevent the femur (thigh bone) from slipping too far forward or backward on the tibia (leg bone). The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is frequently torn in football injuries when a leg firmly planted in the turf encounters a flying tackle. The player typically experiences “excruciating” pain. Excruciating, crucify and crucifixion all share the same root meaning referring to a cross and to the associated pain and suffering.


Dr. Dyche was born in New Jersey and trained at Penn State’s Hershey Medical Center before coming to Des Moines in 1976. Over 30 plus years he has taught gross anatomy, embryology and neuroanatomy. He also served in administration as associate dean for basic sciences, dean of the College of Health Sciences, and acting director of the PA program. He was one of the founding instructors of CPR and ACLS at a time when few medical schools offered this training. He retired to Oregon in 2008, then returned to DMU in 2009. Did he miss the tornadoes, the below zero wind chills or the cadavers?