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Lower Limb Vasculature

Learn about the anatomy of the lower limb vasculature and how it affects the body's circulatory system.
2023-03-31

Introduction

The lower limb vasculature is composed of a complex network of blood vessels that transport blood to and from the lower extremities. It is an important part of the body's circulatory system, providing oxygen and nutrients to all the organs and tissues of the lower limbs. This article reviews the anatomy of the lower limb vasculature and its associated structures.

Arteries

The lower limb vasculature is composed of both arteries and veins. The major arteries of the lower limb include the femoral artery, popliteal artery, anterior and posterior tibial arteries, dorsalis pedis artery, and the plantar arch.

Femoral Artery

The femoral artery is the largest artery of the lower limb. It originates from the aorta and runs down the anterior aspect of the thigh. It begins at the inguinal ligament and passes through the femoral triangle, where it divides into the deep and superficial branches. The deep branch continues down the thigh and eventually divides into the anterior and posterior tibial arteries.

Popliteal Artery

The popliteal artery is a continuation of the femoral artery. It passes through the popliteal fossa and divides into the anterior and posterior tibial arteries.

Anterior and Posterior Tibial Arteries

The anterior and posterior tibial arteries are the major blood vessels of the lower leg. The anterior tibial artery runs down the anterior aspect of the lower leg, while the posterior tibial artery runs down the posterior aspect of the lower leg. These two arteries then join to form the dorsalis pedis artery at the ankle.

Dorsalis Pedis Artery

The dorsalis pedis artery is the continuation of the anterior and posterior tibial arteries at the ankle. It runs along the top of the foot and terminates in the plantar arch.

Plantar Arch

The plantar arch is the terminal branch of the dorsalis pedis artery. It is a small arch that runs along the sole of the foot and supplies blood to the toes.

Veins

The veins of the lower limb are responsible for transporting deoxygenated blood back to the heart. The major veins of the lower limb include the femoral vein, popliteal vein, anterior and posterior tibial veins, and plantar veins.

Femoral Vein

The femoral vein is the continuation of the popliteal vein. It runs along the anterior aspect of the thigh and eventually reaches the inguinal ligament, where it becomes the external iliac vein.

Popliteal Vein

The popliteal vein is a continuation of the femoral vein. It runs through the popliteal fossa and eventually joins the anterior and posterior tibial veins to form the posterior tibial vein.

Anterior and Posterior Tibial Veins

The anterior and posterior tibial veins are the major veins of the lower leg. The anterior tibial vein runs along the anterior aspect of the lower leg, while the posterior tibial vein runs along the posterior aspect of the lower leg. These two veins then join to form the popliteal vein at the knee.

Plantar Veins

The plantar veins are the terminal branches of the dorsalis pedis vein. They are small veins that run along the sole of the foot and carry deoxygenated blood back to the heart.

Nerves

The lower limb vasculature is innervated by several nerves. The major nerves of the lower limb include the femoral nerve, obturator nerve, sciatic nerve, tibial nerve, common peroneal nerve, and superficial peroneal nerve.

Femoral Nerve

The femoral nerve is the largest nerve of the lower limb. It originates from the lumbar plexus and runs down the anterior aspect of the thigh, supplying motor and sensory innervation to the muscles of the thigh and lower leg.

Obturator Nerve

The obturator nerve is a branch of the lumbar plexus. It runs down the medial aspect of the thigh and supplies motor and sensory innervation to the muscles of the hip and thigh.

Sciatic Nerve

The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve of the lower limb. It originates from the sacral plexus and runs down the posterior aspect of the thigh, supplying motor and sensory innervation to the muscles of the thigh, lower leg, and foot.

Tibial Nerve

The tibial nerve is a branch of the sciatic nerve. It runs down the posterior aspect of the lower leg and supplies motor and sensory innervation to the muscles of the lower leg and foot.

Common Peroneal Nerve

The common peroneal nerve is a branch of the sciatic nerve. It runs down the lateral aspect of the lower leg and supplies motor and sensory innervation to the muscles of the lower leg and foot.

Superficial Peroneal Nerve

The superficial peroneal nerve is a branch of the common peroneal nerve. It runs down the lateral aspect of the foot and supplies motor and sensory innervation to the muscles of the foot.

Conclusion

The lower limb vasculature is a complex network of arteries, veins, and nerves that supply blood to and from the lower limbs. It is an important part of the body's circulatory system, providing oxygen and nutrients to all the organs and tissues of the lower limbs. This article reviewed the anatomy of the lower limb vasculature and its associated structures.

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