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Anterior Tibial Artery
Cardiovascular System

Anterior Tibial Artery

Arteria tibialis anterior

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Quick Facts

Origin: Popliteal artery.

Course: Descends in the anterior leg and enters the foot, deep to the extensor retinacula.

Branches: Anterior and posterior tibial recurrent, anterior medial and lateral malleolar, and dorsalis pedis arteries.

Supplied Structures: Muscles of the anterior compartment of leg, overlying cutaneous tissues, ankle, and foot.

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Origin

At the distal margin of the popliteus muscle, the popliteal artery bifurcates into the anterior and posterior tibial arteries. However, the terminal bifurcation of the popliteal artery may occur proximal to popliteus muscle, or occasionally, it may trifurcate directly into the anterior and posterior tibial and fibular arteries (Standring, 2016).

The ratio of the diameter of the anterior and posterior tibial arteries may vary. In general, the posterior tibial artery is the larger of the two tibial arteries. The caliber of the fibular artery is inversely proportionate to the size of the anterior and posterior tibial arteries.

Course

From its origin, the anterior tibial artery passes anteriorly through an aperture in the proximal interosseous membrane, a membrane which joins the tibial and fibular shafts. In the anterior compartment of the leg, it descends along the interosseus membrane. It crosses medially to sit anterior to the shaft of the tibia in the distal leg. The deep fibular nerve accompanies the anterior tibial artery as it descends within the anterior compartment of the leg, sitting on the lateral side of the artery.

Proximally, the anterior tibial artery lies between tibialis anterior and extensor digitorum longus muscles. It then runs medially and is located between tibialis anterior and extensor hallucis longus muscles. The distal one third of the artery lies on the tibia and ankle joint.

The anterior tibial artery runs deep to the superior and inferior extensor retinaculum and is located at the mid-point between the medial and lateral malleoli. At the ankle joint, it lies deep to extensor hallucis longus muscle and continues into the dorsal aspect of the foot as the dorsalis pedis artery.

Branches

The branches of the anterior tibial artery are the:

- anterior tibial recurrent artery;

- posterior tibial recurrent artery;

- anterior medial malleolar artery;

- anterior lateral malleolar artery;

- dorsalis pedis artery.

Rarely, the fibular artery arises from the anterior tibial artery.

Supplied Structures

The anterior tibial artery provides muscular rami to supply the anterior compartment of the leg and the perforating rami that supply overlying cutaneous tissue. The tibial recurrent arteries travel superiorly to contribute to the supply of the knee joint. The anterior medial and anterior lateral malleolar arteries supply of the ankle, while the dorsalis pedis artery is the terminal continuation of the anterior tibial artery to the dorsal aspect of the foot.

References

Standring, S. (2016) Gray's Anatomy: The Anatomical Basis of Clinical Practice. Gray's Anatomy Series 41st edition edn.: Elsevier Limited.

Learn more about this topic from other Elsevier products

Anterior Tibial Artery

ScienceDirect image

The anterior tibial artery from the anterior compartment of the leg continues on to the foot as the dorsalis pedis artery (Fig. 6.83) from which the arcuate artery and the dorsal metatarsal arteries arise (see also pgs 149, 150).

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