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Dorsal Metatarsal Arteries
Cardiovascular System

Dorsal Metatarsal Arteries

Arteriae metatarseae dorsales

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Quick Facts

Origin: First dorsal metatarsal artery arises from the dorsalis pedis artery, second to fourth dorsal metatarsal arteries arise from the arcuate artery.

Course: Travel distally along the dorsal aspect of the metatarsals.

Branches: Dorsal digital arteries.

Supplied Structures: Dorsal aspect of the metatarsals.

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Origin

There are four dorsal metatarsal arteries, which are numbered medially to lateral, from one to four. The first dorsal metatarsal artery arises directly from the dorsalis pedis artery at the base of the first and second metatarsals in approximately 75% of individuals, or from the deep plantar artery in 25% of individuals (Tubbs, Shoja and Loukas, 2016).

The second to fourth dorsal metatarsal arteries arise indirectly from dorsalis pedis artery via the arcuate artery. Variations of the dorsalis pedis artery and the arcuate arteries are common and thus the origins of the dorsal digital metatarsals vary considerably.

Course

The dorsal metatarsal arteries travel distally between the metatarsal spaces. These vessels sit on the dorsal aspect of the dorsal interossei muscles. Proximally, they receive anastomotic vessels from the plantar arch via the perforating branches.

Branches

The dorsal metatarsal arteries give rise to the dorsal digital arteries at the metatarsophalangeal joints. The first dorsal metatarsal artery gives off an additional branch that crosses the first metatarsal and runs distally along the medial aspect of the bone. The fourth dorsal metatarsal artery gives off a branch that runs along the lateral aspect of the fifth metatarsal.

Supplied Structures

The dorsal metatarsal arteries give cutaneous, muscular, and articular supply to the dorsal aspect of the foot. In particular, it contributes to the supply of the dorsal interossei, the lumbricals, and the extensor digitorum brevis muscles.

References

Tubbs, R. S., Shoja, M. M. and Loukas, M. (2016) Bergman's Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Human Anatomic Variation. Wiley.

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