Medically the evaluation by Deborah Weatherspoon, Ph.D., R.N., CRNA — written by Rachel Nall, MSN, CRNA ~ above January 7, 2020

The popliteal pulse is among the pulses you deserve to detect in her body, particularly in the portion of her leg behind her knee. The pulse right here is from blood flow to the popliteal artery, a crucial blood supply to the lower leg.

Several medical problems can impact blood flow to and also from the popliteal pulse. For this reason, friend or your doctor may need to be able to feel it.

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Think the the arteries in your body prefer a road that has actually branches and also changes surname a couple of times, depending upon where you room in the body. Drive under the road with us:

The aorta branches off the heart.That branches into the right and left common iliac arteries right listed below the ship button.Then it becomes the femoral artery in the upper thigh.Finally, the popliteal artery is behind the kneecap.

The popliteal artery is the significant supplier that oxygen-rich blood come the lower leg.

Just below your knee, the popliteal artery branches off right into the anterior tibial artery and also a branch the gives method to the posterior tibial and also peroneal artery. The popliteal vein is beside the artery. The carries blood back to the heart.

In addition to helping store blood flow to her leg, the popliteal artery also supplies blood to crucial muscles in her leg, prefer your calf muscles and the lower component of her hamstring muscles.


Share ~ above PinterestYou deserve to take your popliteal pulse through locating the popliteal artery, which you deserve to feel behind your knee in ~ the popliteal fossa. Illustration by Diego Sabogal

Now the you understand where the popliteal artery is located, here’s just how you have the right to identify it:

In a sit or lying position, contempt bend your leg in ~ the knee, yet not therefore bent the your foot is level on the floor. Location your hands around the prior of her knee so her fingers space on the back section of your knee. Uncover the fleshy middle portion of the back middle of her knee. Doctors call this the “popliteal fossa.” Others call it the “kneepit” because that short. Push with raising pressure until you feel a pulsation in the back of the knee. The pulsation will feel like a heartbeat, normally steady and even in nature. Periodically you may need to press an extremely deep right into the popliteal fossa to feeling the pulse. Some world have a the majority of tissue top top the ago of your knee. Note if friend feel any kind of other masses or weakened areas of tissue, such together a potential aneurysm. Return these space rare, some people can feeling these abnormalities.

You nothing necessarily must be came to if you can’t feel your popliteal pulse. In part people, the pulse is for this reason deep it’s daunting to feel.

If she concerned about your pulses, speak to your doctor. They have the right to attempt to identify the reduced pulses in your leg, such as those at her ankle.

Your medical professional may additionally use equipment, such as a Doppler device, which detects the activity of blood through ultrasonic pulsations.


Your pulse rate must feel the exact same throughout your body, including on her wrist, on the next of her neck, and also in her feet.

A person’s common pulse rate have the right to vary. Many experts think about a regular pulse to be in between 60 and 100 beats per minute.

However, some civilization have a pulse that’s slightly lower as result of medications they take it or other variations in their heart’s rhythm.

You may need come seek medical attention if your pulse price is:

very short (less than 40 beats per minute)very high (greater 보다 100 beats every minute)irregular (doesn’t beat in ~ an even rate and also rhythm)

A medical professional might inspect for a popliteal pulse come evaluate exactly how well blood is flowing to the reduced leg. Some of the problems where a physician may check the popliteal pulse include:

Popliteal artery aneurysm. when you suffer a weakness in the popliteal artery, that can reason a pulsatile mass you can regularly feel. Popliteal artery entrapment syndrome (PAES).

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This condition generally affects young mrs athletes, often due to muscle hypertrophy (enlarged calf muscles). The condition reasons numbness and cramping the the leg muscles. The problem may call for surgical correction in part cases.

These are just some that the significant examples why a medical professional may examine a person’s popliteal pulse.


You may need to seek medical attention if you have a history of problems with blood circulation to your legs and also can’t feel your popliteal pulse together usual. Some other symptoms that might indicate impaired blood circulation include:

cramping in one or both legs once walking extreme sensitivity to touch in the foot numbness in the feet and also legs one leg feeling cold come the touch when contrasted to the various other tingling or burning sensations in the legs

These symptoms can all suggest impaired blood flow from peripheral artery disease or one acute clinical condition, such together a blood gerean in the leg.


The popliteal artery is crucial to offer blood flow to the reduced legs and also muscles neighboring the knee.

If girlfriend have troubles with blood flow to one or both legs, frequently checking her popliteal pulse may help you monitor her conditions. Paying fist to added symptoms, like reduced leg tingling and also numbness, may additionally help.

If you have symptoms you’re worried about, watch your doctor. Seek immediate medical attention if she in too much pain.

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Medically reviewed by Deborah Weatherspoon, Ph.D., R.N., CRNA — written by Rachel Nall, MSN, CRNA on January 7, 2020