Veins Draining The Lower Limbs

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Source: OpenStax Anatomy and Physiology

OpenStax Anatomy and Physiology

The superior surface of the foot drains into the digital veins, and the inferior surface drains into the plantar veins, which flow into a complex series of anastomoses in the feet and ankles, including the dorsal venous arch and the plantar venous arch. From the dorsal venous arch, blood supply drains into the anterior and posterior tibial veins. The anterior tibial vein drains the area near the tibialis anterior muscle and combines with the posterior tibial vein and the fibular vein to form the popliteal vein. The posterior tibial vein drains the posterior surface of the tibia and joins the popliteal vein. The fibular vein drains the muscles and integument in proximity to the fibula and also joins the popliteal vein. The small saphenous vein located on the lateral surface of the leg drains blood from the superficial regions of the lower leg and foot, and flows into to the popliteal vein. As the popliteal vein passes behind the knee in the popliteal region, it becomes the femoral vein. It is palpable in patients without excessive adipose tissue.

Close to the body wall, the great saphenous vein, the deep femoral vein, and the femoral circumflex vein drain into the femoral vein. The great saphenous vein is a prominent surface vessel located on the medial surface of the leg and thigh that collects blood from the superficial portions of these areas. The deep femoral vein, as the name suggests, drains blood from the deeper portions of the thigh. The femoral circumflex vein forms a loop around the femur just inferior to the trochanters and drains blood from the areas in proximity to the head and neck of the femur.

As the femoral vein penetrates the body wall from the femoral portion of the upper limb, it becomes the external iliac vein, a large vein that drains blood from the leg to the common iliac vein. The pelvic organs and integument drain into the internal iliac vein, which forms from several smaller veins in the region, including the umbilical veins that run on either side of the bladder. The external and internal iliac veins combine near the inferior portion of the sacroiliac joint to form the common iliac vein. In addition to blood supply from the external and internal iliac veins, the middle sacral vein drains the sacral region into the common iliac vein. Similar to the common iliac arteries, the common iliac veins come together at the level of L5 to form the inferior vena cava.

Source: OpenStax Anatomy and Physiology
Source: OpenStax Anatomy and Physiology


Betts, J. G., Young, K. A., Wise, J. A., Johnson, E., Poe, B., Kruse, D. H., … DeSaix, P. (n.d.). Anatomy and Physiology. Houston, Texas: OpenStax. Access for free at: