The anterior tibial artery, [a. tibialis antica,] placed along the fore part of the leg, is at first deeply seated, but, as it descends, gradually approaches nearer to the surface. It extends from the division of the popliteal artery to the bend of the ankle, whence it is afterwards prolonged to the interval between the first and second metatarsal bones, under the name of dorsal artery of the foot.
The anterior tibial artery is at first directed forwards to reach the fore part of the interosseous ligament ; and this short part of the vessel passes between the heads of the tibialis posticus, and through the interval between the bones left unoccupied by the interosseous ligament. Having reached the fore part of the leg, the artery extends obliquely downwards to the middle of the ankle-joint, so that its course may be nearly indicated by a line drawn from the inner side of the head of the fibula to midway between the two malleoli. Lying between the tibialis anticus (on its inner side), and the extensor communis digitorum, with, lower down, the extensor proprius pollicis (on its outer side), the vessel is deeply placed at the upper part of the leg, where those muscles are fleshy ; but is comparatively superficial below, where the muscular fibres have ended in the tendons. At the bend of the ankle it is covered by the annular ligament, and is crossed by the tendon of the extensor proprius pollicis. In its oblique course downwards, the anterior tibial artery rests at first against the interosseous ligament, and is then at a considerable distance from the spine of the tibia ; but in descending it gradually approaches that ridge, and towards the lower part of the leg is supported on the anterior surface of the bone.
The anterior tibial artery is accompanied by two veins (vence comites). The anterior tibial nerve, coming from the outer side of the head of the fibula, approaches the artery at a short distance after the appearance of the vessel in front of the interosseous ligament.
Lower down, the nerve for the most part lies in front of the artery, but often changes its position from one side of the vessel to the other.
The branches of the anterior tibial artery are small but very numerous, and are given off at short intervals along the parent vessel. Most of them are distributed to the neighboring muscles, and are unnamed. The following named branches require special notice.
The recurrent artery, [a. recurrens tibialis,] — On reaching the front of the leg, the anterior tibial artery sends upwards a considerable branch, which, from its course, is thus named. This branch ascends through the fibres of the tibialis anticus, and, ramifying on the lateral and fore parts of the knee-joint, anastomoses with the inferior articular branches of the popliteal artery.
The malleolar arteries, [a. malleolares]. — Near the ankle-joint two malleolar branches, named internal and external malleolar, are given off by the anterior tibial artery. The internal branch, having passed beneath the tendon of the tibialis anticus, reaches the inner ankle, and ramifies upon it, supplying the surrounding textures, and communicating with branches of the posterior tibial artery. The external malleolar branch bears a similar relation to the outer ankle ; having passed under the tendon of the common extensor of the toes, it anastomoses with the anterior division of the peroneal artery, and also with some ascending or reflected branches from the tarsal branch of the dorsal artery of the foot. — These malleolar arteries supply articular branches to the neighboring- joints.
It should be further remarked, that they vary frequently in their mode of origin and in their size.
From Quain's anatomy.