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Leg Vein Anatomy

Published on January 27, 2017

The veins in the lower limbs of your body drain the deoxygenated blood and recirculate it back to your heart. They can be classified into two groups:

• Deep veins – These are located below the deep fascia of your lower limb and accompany all the major arteries.
• Superficial veins – These are located in the subcutaneous tissue. Although they are not located more towards the surface, they also drain into the deep veins.

Let us take a deeper look into the clinical correlations associated with the veins in your lower limb.

Deep Veins and their Clinical Relevance

The deep veins in your lower limbs share their names with the major arteries that accompany them. Often, the vein and the artery are located inside one vascular sheath. This allows for the pulsations in the artery to aid with the venous return.

The central venous structure of the leg is the dorsal venal arch. For the most part, this drains into your superficial veins. Some of the veins from this arch go deeper into your leg and form the anterior tibial vein.

You also have the lateral and medial plantar veins on the plantar position of your foot. These veins join together to form the fibular and posterior tibial veins. The posterior tibial veins run alongside its arterial counterpart and posteriorly enters the leg to the medial malleolus.

On the posterior surface of your knee, the fibular, posterior tibial and anterior tibial veins join together to form the popliteal vein. The latter enters your thigh through the adductor canal.

As the popliteal vein enters your thigh, it is referred to as the femoral vein. It’s situated anteriorly and accompanies the femoral artery. The deep vein in your thigh is the other main venous structure and drains the blood from your thigh muscles with the help of perforating veins.

The drained blood is then emptied into the distal section of your femoral vein. The gluteal region of your lower limbs is drained by superior gluteal and inferior veins, which empty into the hypogastric vein.

If a blood clot forms in your deep veins, then it can block the vessels and lead to a condition called deep vein thrombosis. This can cause pain and swelling of the affected limb. If you are at risk of developing DVT, you have to undergo prophylactic treatment.

Superficial Veins and their Clinical Relevance

The superficial veins in your lower limbs run into the tissue located directly under your skin. The long saphenous vein is formed by your foot’s dorsal venous arch and it ascends up your leg’s medial side. It then passes anteriorly to meet the medial malleolus and posteriorly to join the medial condyle. As the vein makes its way up your leg, it receives small tributaries from other superficial veins.

The small saphenous vein is formed by the little toe’s dorsal vein and the dorsal venous arch in your foot. It moves up your leg’s posterior and passes posteriorly to the lateral malleolus, moving along the calcaneal tendon of the lateral border. It empties into the politeal vein.

The superficial veins have valves that prevent the blood from flowing back. If they become incompetent, it causes blood to flow back into the superficial veins. This can lead to increased pressure on the veins and lead to a condition called varicose veins.

This condition can be treated by surgically removing the saphenous system, reconstructing the valves or by tying them off. A board-certified surgeon should be able to discuss your surgical options with you.

Contact Our Office

Contact our office to learn more about varicose vein treatment options. With the help of Dr. Raffi Dishakjin, a highly experienced vein specialist, you can find relief from the issues that are causing you grief.