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Arteries and nerves of the foot

Learning objectives

After completing this study unit you will be able to:

  1. Name the major arteries and nerves sources that supply the foot.
  2. List and identify the branches of the main arteries and nerves of the foot.
  3. Visualize the course of these structures and their anatomical relationships with each other.

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The arterial supply to the foot can be divided into a dorsal and plantar component, that are connected through the pedal arches. The arteries of the foot originate from two major sources:

  • Anterior tibial artery, which gives off a number of branches to supply the dorsum of the foot.
  • Posterior tibial artery, which provides the branches for the plantar portion of the foot.

Five major nerves provide innervation to the foot; these are the tibial, sural, deep fibular, superficial fibular and saphenous nerves.

We’ll help you grasp this extensive topic with the following video tutorial.

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Key points about arteries and nerves of the foot
Arteries of the foot (branches) Dorsalis pedis artery: Lateral and medial tarsal artery, arcuate artery,
deep plantar artery
Posterior tibial artery
: Medial plantar artery, lateral plantar artery
Deep plantar arch
: Lateral plantar artery, deep plantar artery
Superficial plantar arch
: Lateral plantar artery, superficial branch of the medial plantar artery
Nerves of the foot Superficial fibular nerve: Medial dorsal cutaneous nerve of foot, intermediate dorsal cutaneous nerve of foot
Deep fibular nerve
: Dorsal digital branches
Tibial nerve
: Sural, medial calcaneal and medial and lateral plantar nerves
Muscular innervation Tibial nerve: Flexor digitorum longus and flexor hallucis longus muscles
Medial plantar nerve
: Flexor hallucis brevis, flexor digitorum brevis, abductor hallucis and lumbrical muscles
Lateral plantar nerve
: Flexor digiti minimi brevis, flexor accessorius (quadratus plantae), abductor digiti minimi, dorsal and plantar interossei muscles, adductor hallucis and lumbrical muscles
Deep fibular nerve
: Extensor digitorum longus, extensor hallucis longus and extensor digitorum brevis muscles
Cutaneous innervation Dorsum of foot: Saphenous, superficial fibular, sural, deep fibular and lateral plantar nerves
Sole of foot
: Saphenous, medial plantar, lateral plantar, sural and tibial nerves

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