Lower Extremity Veins


In reasonable similarity to the upper extremities, the lower extremities are equipped with both superficial veins and deep veins. Superficial veins have fewer valves than the deep veins. Deep veins run parallel to their corresponding artery and serve the same organs. Starting in the foot, the posterior and anterior tibial veins track up the anterior and posterior region of the knee where they conjoin together to create the popliteal vein.


The popliteal vein receives the oxygen depleted blood from the knee. Slightly above the knee, this vein then becomes the femoral vein which runs parallel to the femoral artery in reverse. The femoral vein tracks up into the thigh to receive the deoxygenated blood from the deep femoral vein which serves the groin. Tracking upward just slightly the great saphenous vein takes over and then turns into the external iliac vein which traverses under the inguinal ligament.

Conjoining the internal iliac vein in the region of the genitals and the pelvis, the external iliac vein rises to the sacroiliac joint. At the point of convergence the common iliac vein is formed. The right and left common iliac veins come together level with the area of the fifth lumbar vertebrate and create the inferior vena cava.


Lower Extremity Veins
Image: Lower Extremity Veins


The superficial veins which are near the skin’s surface of the lower extremity include the small and great saphenous veins. The small saphenous vein run deep under the skin alongside the leg’s posterior aspect and originates from the lateral side of the foot. Behind the knee joint it meets with the popliteal vein.

The longest vein in the human body is the great saphenous vein which originates in the medial side of the foot. Rising up the medial portion of the leg and thigh, it finally joins the femoral vein. The great saphenous vein is the vein that is commonly excised in order to create false vessels in the event of by-pass surgery.

In the event that a superficial vein is removed from the body or dysfunctional the venous drainage is taken care of by the deep veins.
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