The alar ligaments connect the sides of the dens on the axis, or the second cervical vertebra to tubercles on the medial side of the occipital condyle.
They are short, tough, fibrous cords and function to check side-to-side movements of the head when it is turned.
The alar ligament is also known as the check ligament of the odontoid.
The fibers within each alar ligament are arranged in a multiplanar fashion, rostrally originating from the medial surfaces of the occipital condyles and converging in a V-shaped fashion on either side of the tip of the odontoid process. This complex composition allows the alar ligaments to serve a variety of functions.