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Femoral Artery


  • It is the main artery of the lower limb. It begins as a continuation of external iliac artery below the inguinal ligament at midinguinal point midway between pubic symphysis and anterior superior iliac spine. It descends through femoral triangle and then through adductor canal. After that it ends by passing through adductor hiatus in the adductor magnus muscle to continue as popliteal artery.
  1. Initial 4 cm of femoral artery and vein are enclosed by femoral sheath.
  2. Femoral pulse can be palpated in the femoral triangle just below the midinguinal point.
  • Branches of femoral artery are :-
  1. In femoral triangle
    1. Superficial branches :-
      (1) Superficial external pudendal,                     

      (2) Superficial epigastric,  
      (3) Superficial circumflex iliac.
    2. Deep branches :-           
      (1) Profunda femoris,                              
      (2) Deep external pudendal,
      (3) Muscular branches.
  2. In adductor canal
    1. Descending genicular artery
  • Profunda femoris artery is the largest branch of femoral artery and supplies all three compartments of thigh (anterior, medial and posterior). It arises from the lateral side of femoral artery about 4 cm below the inguinal ligament.

The profunda femoris gives of following branches:

  1. Medial circumflex femoral: - Major supply to the head of femur.
  2. Lateral circumflex femoral.
  3. Four perforating arteries: - 2nd perforating artery gives nutrient artery to femur.

Popliteal Artery

  1. It is the continuation of femoral artery at the level of adductor hiatus in the adductor magnus muscle. It terminates at the level of lower border of popliteus muscle by dividing into anterior tibial and posterior tibial arteries.
  2. Popliteal artery gives of following branches: (a) Upper muscular; (b) Lower muscular; and (c) Five genicular branches (superior medial, superior lateral, inferior medial, inferior lateral and middle genicular).
  3. Popliteal pulse is the most difficult of the peripheral pulses to feel as it is not as superficial as other palpable arteries and not lies against any bony prominence. It lies deep in the popliteal fossa. It is best examined with the subject lying supine or prone, with the knee flexed, in order to relax the tens popliteal fossa. The pulse is then felt by deep pressure over the midline of fossa against the popliteal surface of femur.

Anterior and posterior tibial arteries

These are two terminal branches of popliteal artery at the level of lower border of popliteus muscle.

  1. Anterior tibial artery
    1. Anterior tibial artery enters the anterior compartment of leg and reaching the front of ankle, it continues as dorsalis pedis artery midway between two malleoli. Anterior tibial artery gives of following branches: - (i) Anterior tibial recurrent; (ii) Posterior tibial recurrent; (iii) Anterior medial malleolar; and (iv) Posterior medial malleolar.
    2. Dorsalis pedis artery pulse can be felt in front of the ankle joint, midway between two malleoli. It terminates by joining with the lateral plantar artery (deep branch) to complete the plantar arch in the sole. It gives of following branches: (i) Lateral tarsal; (ii) Medial tarsal; (iii) Arcuate artery; and (iv) 1'1 dorsal metatarsal.
  2. Posterior tibial artery
    1. It begins at the lower border of popliteus muscle and terminates in the tarsal tunnel undercover of flexor retinaculum.
    2. It gives of following branches: (i) Circumflex fibular; (ii) Nutrient artery to tibia (largest nutrient artery of body; (iii) Peroneal artery (gives nutrient artery to fibula; (iv) Communicating branch; (v) Malleolar branch; (vi) Calcaneal branch and (vii) Several muscular branches.
    3. It terminates by dividing into two terminal branches: (i) Medial plantar; and (ii) Lateral plantar.
    4. Medial plantar artery is the smaller terminal branch of posterior tibial artery and gives three superficial plantar digital arteries which join the plantar metatarsal branches of plantar arch.
    5. Lateral plantar artery is large terminal branch and continues as plantar arch and meets the terminal part of dorsalis pedis artery to complete the arch.
  3. Plantar Arterial Arc
    1. Formed by direct continuation of lateral plantar artery and is completed medially by the dorsalis pedis artery.
    2. Extends from base of 5th metatarsal to the proximal part of 1st intermetatarsal space and lies between the 3rd and 4th muscular layers of the sole.
    3. Accompanied by venae comitantes and the deep branch of lateral plantar nerve.

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