Arterial blood circulation of the foot is through the branches of the posterior tibial along with dorsalis pedis arteries (a.k.a. dorsal artery of the foot).
The posterior tibial artery travels towards the sole and splits into lateral and medial plantar arteries. The lateral plantar artery connects together with the end point of the dorsalis pedis artery (the deep plantar artery) in order to create the deep plantar arch. Circulation of the toes is done by branches from this particular arch.
The dorsalis pedis artery is the extension of the anterior tibial artery, travels over the dorsal aspect of the foot and afterwards inferiorly, in order to enter the sole of the foot as the deep plantar artery, in the middle of metatarsals I and II.
Posterior Tibial Artery and Plantar Arch
- On the medial side of the ankle and posterior towards the medial malleolus, the posterior tibial artery goes into the foot via the tarsal tunnel.
- At this point, the posterior tibial artery bifurcates into a small medial plantar artery and a considerably larger lateral plantar artery.
Lateral Plantar Artery
Anterolaterally, The lateral plantar artery travels within the sole of the foot, first deep towards the proximal end of the abductor hallucis muscle and afterwards in the middle of the quadratus plantae along with flexor digitorum brevis muscles.
Deep Plantar Arch
The lateral plantar artery turns medially in order to create the deep plantar arch, which traverses the deep plane of the sole on the metatarsal bases and the interossei muscles.
The deep plantar arch connects with the deep plantar artery (terminal branch) of the dorsalis pedis artery, which enters the sole from the dorsal side of the foot In the middle of the bases of metatarsals I and II.
Major branches of the deep plantar arch include:
- A digital branch: travels towards lateral aspect of the little toe.
- Four plantar metatarsal arteries: give digital branches towards adjacent sides of toes I to V and the medial aspect of the great toe.
- Three perforating arteries: pass between the bases of metatarsals II to V to anastomose with vessels on the dorsal aspect of the foot.
Medial Plantar Artery
By passing deep towards the proximal end of the abductor hallucis muscle, the medial plantar artery travels inside the sole of the foot. To adjacent muscles, it supplies a deep branch and afterwards goes forward in the indentation in the middle of the abductor hallucis along with the flexor digitorum brevis muscles.
It terminates by connecting with the digital branch (plantar digital artery) of the deep plantar arch, which circulates the medial aspect of the great toe. Near the base of metatarsal I, the medial plantar artery gives rise to a superficial branch, which divides into three vessels that pass superficial towards the flexor digitorum brevis muscle in order to join the plantar metatarsal arteries from the deep plantar arch.
Plantar Digital Arteries Proper
All Plantar Metatarsal Arteries divide into a pair of common plantar digital arteries that again divides on each aspect of the toes into two proper plantar digital arteries which circulate the neighboring sides of the toes.
Dorsalis Pedis Artery
The dorsalis pedis artery is the extension of the anterior tibial artery and begins as the anterior tibial artery crosses the ankle joint.
Branches of the dorsalis pedis artery consist of lateral and medial tarsal branches, an arcuate artery, and a first dorsal metatarsal artery:
- The tarsal arteries (lateral and medial) pass medially as well as laterally above the tarsal bones, circulating adjacent structures and also anastomosing with a network of vessels created near the ankle.
- The arcuate artery travels laterally over the dorsal part of the metatarsals around their roots.
- Three dorsal metatarsal arteries are produced by arcuate artery.
- Dorsal digital arteries are supplied towards adjacent sides of digits II to V, and towards a dorsal digital artery which circulates the lateral side of digit V.
- The first dorsal metatarsal artery supplies dorsal digital branches towards neighboring sides of the great and second toes. The dorsal metatarsal arteries make contact with perforating branches from the deep plantar arch as well as similar branches from the plantar metatarsal arteries.