Author: Dr Peter de Souza
Last modified: 17 December 2020


Hi this is Peter from AnatomyZone, and in this tutorial we're going to take a look at the arterial supply to the knee. So this follows on from the previous tutorial on the arterial supply to the thigh.

The arteries which supply the knee are derived from branches of the femoral and popliteal arteries. You've got the descending branch of the lateral circumflex artery, the descending genicular branch of the superficial femoral artery, you've got genicular arteries derived from the popliteal artery, recurrent branches from the tibial arteries and you've also got the circumflex fibular branch. These arteries all contribute to this rich anastomotic network around the knee.


So if I just rotate the model around to a posterior view, we can see the popliteal artery. The popliteal artery is a continuation of the SFA - the superficial femoral artery as it passes through the adductor hiatus. The popliteal artery then terminates by dividing into the anterior and posterior tibial arteries. So you've got the anterior tibial artery here in yellow and the posterior tibial artery here in green.


I've just zoomed in a little bit closer and we're now looking at the genicular arteries, which are branching off the popliteal artery. So as you can see, you've got a superior and inferior set of genicular arteries. And you've got genicular arteries on either side, so you've got medial and lateral genicular arteries. At the top we've got the lateral superior genicular and the medial superior genicular, and at the bottom we've got the lateral inferior genicular, and the medial inferior genicular.


If I just rotate the model around anteriorly, you can see how these arteries form this network of vessels around the knee. All these genicular arteries anastomose. So just rotating the model around to a medial view of the knee, we can see the medial superior and the medial inferior genicular arteries. And you can see that they receive this anastomosing branch from the descending genicular artery, which is a branch from the superficial femoral artery.


And then rotating around to a lateral view, taking a look at the lateral superior and the lateral inferior genicular arteries, we can see that the lateral inferior genicular artery receives two branches. So in this model you can see anteriorly, it receives this branch which comes off the anterior tibial artery, known as the anterior tibial recurrent artery. And if I rotate the model slightly posteriorly, you can see this branch arising from the posterior tibial artery and winding around the fibula, and then anastomosing with the lateral inferior genicular artery. This is the circumflex fibular artery.


At the midpoint of the popliteal artery entering into the posterior aspect of the knee joint, there's another genicular artery known as the middle genicular artery. If I rotate the model around slightly, you can see this branch highlighted in green, entering into the posterior aspect of the knee joint. The middle genicular artery pierces the oblique popliteal ligaments to supply the synovial membrane and the cruciate ligaments of the knee.


Now also on this model, visible from this view are the sural arteries. The sural arteries are superficial arteries arising from the popliteal artery, and you've got a medial and lateral sural artery, and these supply the gastrocnemius, the soleus and the plantaris muscles. In blue, we have the medial sural artery, and in purple we have the lateral sural artery.


So we've taken a look now at various different branches given off from the arteries in the thigh and the leg to supply the knee joint. In the next tutorial we'll take a look at the branches of the arteries in the leg.