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The Prevalence of the Arcuate Artery

A Cadaveric Study of 72 Feet

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  • 1 Associate Professor, Department of Basic Sciences, New York College of Podiatric Medicine, 1800 Park Ave, New York, NY 10035.
  • | 2 Submitted during fourth year, New York College of Podiatric Medicine, New York, NY.
  • | 3 Submitted during first-year residency, Catholic Medical Center, Queens, NY.
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The purpose of this study was to quantify the occurrence of the arcuate artery. The arcuate artery was defined as that artery branching off the dorsalis pedis artery at or below the level of the tarsometatarsal joint, tending laterally across the bases of metatarsals 2 through 4, and supplying dorsal metatarsal arteries 2 through 4. The arcuate artery was present in 16.7% of 72 cadaver feet that were dissected and examined, suggesting that the arcuate artery is not the primary blood supply to dorsal metatarsal arteries 2 through 4 as is commonly described. It was determined that the lateral tarsal artery supplied dorsal metatarsal arteries 2 through 4 more frequently (47.2%) than the arcuate artery. The proximal perforating arteries as well as various combinations of all three sources were also found to contribute complete blood supply to dorsal metatarsal arteries 2 through 4. Therefore, a consistent dorsal arterial network, which differentiates throughout development, better explains the blood supply of the dorsal forefoot than the arcuate artery. (J Am Podiatr Med Assoc 91(6): 300-305, 2001)