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Popliteal artery

The popliteal artery (Latin: arteria poplitea) is the continuation of the femoral artery, at the site where it exits the adductor canal at the adductor hiatus. The popliteal artery supplies arterial blood to the knee, leg and foot.

The artery passes through the popliteal fossa, and at the lower part of the popliteus muscle divides into its two terminal branches - the anterior and posterior tibial arteries. On its course, the popliteal artery gives off several small side branches, and these are:

  • Lateral superior genicular artery
  • Medial superior genicular artery
  • Lateral inferior genicular artery
  • Medial inferior genicular arteries
  • Middle genicular artery
  • Sural arteries

The genicular arteries of the popliteal artery form the periarticular genicular anastomosis, a network of blood vessels surrounding the knee joint and providing collateral circulation. The sural arteries supply the gastrocnemius, soleus and popliteus muscles.