UAMS Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences - Nerves of the Lower Limb

Gross Anatomy


Nerves of the Lower Limb - Listed Alphabetically

Nerve Source Branches Motor Sensory Notes
anterior femoral cutaneous n. femoral no named branches sympathetic motor innervation to skin skin of the anterior thigh cutaneous nn. carry postganglionic sympathetic axons to skin
cluneal, inferior posterior femoral cutaneous n. no named branches none skin of the lower part of the buttock "clunis" is a Latin word meaning buttock
cluneal, middle lateral cutaneous branches of the dorsal primary rami of spinal nerves S1-3 no named branches none skin of the intermediate medial portion of the buttock "clunis" is a Latin word meaning buttock
cluneal, superior lateral cutaneous branches of the dorsal primary rami of spinal nerves S1-3 no named branches none skin of the superomedial portion of the buttock "clunis" is a Latin word meaning buttock
coccygeal plexus ventral primary rami of spinal nerves S4, S5, C1 anococcygeal n. none skin of the region overlying the coccyx only part of the S4 ventral primary ramus is contributed to the coccygeal plexus
common fibular n. sciatic n. lateral sural cutaneous n., superficial and deep fibular nn. superficial fibular n.: muscles of the lateral compartment of the leg (fibularis longus and brevis mm.); deep fibular n.: muscles of the anterior compartment of the leg (tibialis anterior m., extensor hallucis longus m., extensor digitorum longus m., fibularis tertius m.) and muscles of the dorsum of the foot (extensor digitorum brevis m.and extensor hallucis brevis m.) superficial fibular n.: distal 1/3 of the anterior surface of the leg, dorsum of the foot excluding the web between the great toe and the 2nd toe and distal interphalangeal segments of all toes; deep fibular n.: skin of the web between the great toe and the 2nd toe "peroneal" is old terminology which has been replaced by "fibular"
common plantar digital nn. medial plantar n. (1st-3rd); superficial br. of the lateral plantar n. (4th) proper plantar digital nn. 1st lumbrical m. skin of the plantar surface of the toes (except the medial side of the great toe and the lateral side of the 5th toe) the dorsal surfaces of the distal tips of the toes (nail bed regions) are supplied by the proper plantar digital brs. of these nn.
deep fibular n. common fibular n. one proper digital br. muscles of the anterior compartment of the leg (tibialis anterior m., extensor hallucis longus m., extensor digitorum longus m., fibularis tertius m.) and muscles of the dorsum of the foot (extensor digitorum brevis m.and extensor hallucis brevis m.) skin of the web between the great toe and the 2nd toe "peroneal" is old terminology which has been replaced by "fibular"; anterior compartment syndrome - trauma to the anterior side of the leg can result in pressure buildup in the anterior compartment (from swelling or bleeding) that can damage the deep fibular n., resulting in "foot drop"
digital, common plantar medial plantar n. (1st-3rd); superficial br. of the lateral plantar n. (4th) proper plantar digital nn. 1st lumbrical m. skin of the plantar surface of the toes (except the medial side of the great toe and the lateral side of the 5th toe) the dorsal surfaces of the distal tips of the toes (nail bed regions) are supplied by the proper plantar digital brs. of these nn.
digital, proper plantar common plantar digital; medial plantar n. (to the medial side of the great toe); superficial br. of the lateral plantar n. (to the lateral side of the 5th toe) no named branches flexor hallucis brevis m. (from the proper plantar digital n. on the medial side of the great toe) skin of the plantar surface of the toes and dorsal surface of the distal interphalangeal segment the nail bed is supplied by the proper plantar digital nn.
femoral cutaneous, anterior femoral no named branches sympathetic motor innervation to skin skin of the anterior thigh cutaneous nn. carry postganglionic sympathetic axons to skin
femoral cutaneous, lateral lumbar plexus (ventral primary rami of spinal nerves L2-L3) anterior & posterior brs. sympathetic motor innervation to skin skin of the lateral thigh cutaneous nn. carry postganglionic sympathetic axons to skin
femoral cutaneous, posterior sacral plexus (ventral primary rami of spinal nerves S1-S3) inferior cluneal nn.; perineal br. sympathetic motor innervation to skin skin of the lower buttock & posterior thigh cutaneous nn. carry postganglionic sympathetic axons to skin
femoral n. lumbar plexus (ventral primary rami of spinal nerves L2-L4) anterior femoral cutaneous brs., nn. to: sartorius m., rectus femoris m., vastus lateralis m., vastus intermedius m., vastus medialis m., pectineus m. sartorius, rectus femoris, vastus lateralis, vastus intermedius, vastus medialis, pectineus skin of anterior thigh passes under inguinal ligament lateral to femoral a.
fibular, common sciatic n. lateral sural cutaneous n., superficial and deep fibular nn. superficial fibular n.: muscles of the lateral compartment of the leg (fibularis longus and brevis mm.); deep fibular n.: muscles of the anterior compartment of the leg (tibialis anterior m., extensor hallucis longus m., extensor digitorum longus m., fibularis tertius m.) and muscles of the dorsum of the foot (extensor digitorum brevis m.and extensor hallucis brevis m.) superficial fibular n.: distal 1/3 of the anterior surface of the leg, dorsum of the foot excluding the web between the great toe and the 2nd toe and distal interphalangeal segments of all toes; deep fibular n.: skin of the web between the great toe and the 2nd toe "peroneal" is old terminology which has been replaced by "fibular"
fibular, deep common fibular n. one proper digital br. muscles of the anterior compartment of the leg (tibialis anterior m., extensor hallucis longus m., extensor digitorum longus m., fibularis tertius m.) and muscles of the dorsum of the foot (extensor digitorum brevis m.and extensor hallucis brevis m.) skin of the web between the great toe and the 2nd toe "peroneal" is old terminology which has been replaced by "fibular"; anterior compartment syndrome - trauma to the anterior side of the leg can result in pressure buildup in the anterior compartment (from swelling or bleeding) that can damage the deep fibular n., resulting in "foot drop"
fibular, superficial common fibular n. medial dorsal cutaneous n. to the medial side of the foot; dorsal digital nn. to the lateral 3 toes muscles of the lateral compartment of the leg (fibularis longus and brevis mm.) distal 1/3 of the anterior surface of the leg; dorsum of the foot excluding the skin of the web between the great toe and the 2nd toe and the distal interphalangeal segments of all toes "peroneal" is old terminology which has been replaced by "fibular"; the nail beds are supplied by nerves from the plantar surface of the foot
genitofemoral n. lumbar plexus (ventral primary rami of spinal nerves L1-L2) genital br., femoral br. cremaster m. skin of the anterior scrotum/labia majora & upper medial thigh genitofemoral n. lies on the anterior surface of the psoas major in the abdomen; the genital br. passes through the deep inguinal ring and inguinal canal; brushing the thigh elicits an elevation of the testis via the cremasteric reflex
gluteal, inferior sacral plexus (ventral primary rami of spinal nerves L5, S1-S2) no named branches gluteus maximus m. none inferior gluteal n. passes through the greater sciatic foramen inferior to the piriformis m.
gluteal, superior sacral plexus (ventral primary rami of spinal nerves L4-L5, S1) superior & inferior brs. gluteus medius m., gluteus minimus m., tensor fasciae latae m. none superior gluteal n. passes through the greater sciatic foramen superior to the piriformis m.
lateral femoral cutaneous n. lumbar plexus (ventral primary rami of spinal nerves L2-L3) anterior & posterior brs. sympathetic motor innervation to skin skin of the lateral thigh cutaneous nn. carry postganglionic sympathetic axons to skin
lateral plantar n. tibial n. superficial and deep branches quadratus plantae m., abductor digiti minimi m., flexor digiti minimi brevis m., lateral 3 lumbrical mm., adductor hallucis m., plantar & dorsal interosseous mm. skin of the lateral side of the plantar surface of the foot; skin of the plantar surface of the lateral 1 1/2 toes (and the nail bed of these toes) lateral plantar n. accompanies the lateral plantar a. though the sole of the foot
lateral sural cutaneous n. common fibular n. fibular communicating br. none skin of the lateral side of the leg contains postganglionic sympathetic axons for supply of sweat glands, arrector pili mm. and blood vessels
lumbar n. ventral primary rami of spinal nerves L1-L5 contributes to the formation of the lumbar and sacral plexuses numerous: see lumbar and sacral plexuses numerous: see lumbar and sacral plexuses lumbar nn. enter into the formation of the lumbar and sacral plexuses and do not give branches directly to muscles or skin
lumbar plexus ventral primary rami of spinal nerves L1-L4 branches of the lumbar plexus: iliohypogastric n., ilioinguinal n., genitofemoral n., lateral femoral cutaneous n., femoral n., obturator n., lumbosacral trunk (considered to be part of sacral plexus), brs. to the psoas major and minor mm., branches to the quadratus lumborum m. muscles of the lower abdominal wall; cremaster m., psoas major and minor mm., quadratus lumborum m., iliacus m.; muscles of the anterior and medial thigh and hip skin of the lower abdominal wall, skin of the anterior scrotum/labium majus, skin of the anterior and medial thigh and lateral hip lumbar plexus is noted for its variable branching pattern of nerves that supply the abdominal wall
lumbosacral plexus ventral primary rami of spinal nerves L4-S4 branches of the lumbosacral plexus: iliohypogastric n., ilioinguinal n., genitofemoral n., lateral femoral cutaneous n., femoral n., obturator n., lumbosacral trunk (considered to be part of sacral plexus), brs. to the psoas major and minor mm., branches to the quadratus lumborum m., superior & inferior gluteal nn., n. to the obturator internus m., n. to the quadratus femoris m., sciatic n., n. to the piriformis m., posterior femoral cutaneous n., pudendal n., n. to the pelvic diaphragm, pelvic splanchnic nn. muscles of the lower abdominal wall; cremaster m., psoas major and minor mm., quadratus lumborum m., iliacus m.; muscles of the anterior and medial thigh and hip, muscles of the pelvic & urogenital diaphragm, posterior hip, posterior thigh, leg and foot skin of the lower abdominal wall, skin of the anterior scrotum/labium majus, skin of the anterior and medial thigh and lateral hip' skin of the perineum, posterior thigh, leg and foot also known as: lumbar & sacral plexuses
lumbosacral trunk part of the ventral primary ramus of L4 united with the ventral primary ramus of L5 no named branches; it contributes to the formation of the sacral plexus muscles of the hip and posterior thigh see sacral plexus the lumbosacral trunk is not considered to be part of the lumbar plexus
medial sural cutaneous n. tibial n. no named branches none skin of the posterior surface of the leg; skin of the lateral side of the foot unites with fibular communicating br. to form the sural n.
obturator internus m., n. to sacral plexus (ventral primary rami of spinal nerves L5-S2 ) n. to the superior gemellus m. obturator internus m., superior gemellus m. none nerve to obturator internus m. crosses the ischial spine and enters the ischioanal fossa by passing through the lesser sciatic foramen
obturator n. lumbar plexus (ventral primary rami of spinal nerves L2-L4) anterior and posterior brs. muscles of the medial thigh: adductor longus m., adductor brevis m. and adductor magnus m., gracilis m., obturator externus m. skin of the lower medial thigh obturator n. passes through the obturator canal
perforating cutaneous n. sacral plexus (ventral primary rami of spinal nerves S2-3) no named branches none skin of the inferomedial buttock perforating cutaneous n. pierces the sacrotuberous ligament
peroneal, common SEE: fibular, common . . . "peroneal" is old terminology which has been replaced by fibular
peroneal, deep SEE: fibular, deep . . . "peroneal" is old terminology which has been replaced by fibular
peroneal, superficial SEE: fibular, superficial . . . "peroneal" is old terminology which has been replaced by fibular
plantar digital, common medial plantar n. (1st-3rd); superficial br. of the lateral plantar n. (4th) proper plantar digital nn. 1st lumbrical m. skin of the plantar surface of the toes (except the medial side of the great toe and the lateral side of the 5th toe) the dorsal surfaces of the distal tips of the toes (nail bed regions) are supplied by the proper plantar digital brs. of these nn.
plantar digital, proper common plantar digital; medial plantar n. (to the medial side of the great toe); superficial br. of the lateral plantar n. (to the lateral side of the 5th toe) no named branches flexor hallucis brevis m. (from the proper plantar digital n. on the medial side of the great toe) skin of the plantar surface of the toes and dorsal surface of the distal interphalangeal segment the nail bed is supplied by the proper plantar digital nn.
plantar, lateral tibial n. superficial and deep branches quadratus plantae m., abductor digiti minimi m., flexor digiti minimi brevis m., lateral 3 lumbrical mm., adductor hallucis m., plantar & dorsal interosseous mm. skin of the lateral side of the plantar surface of the foot; skin of the plantar surface of the lateral 1 1/2 toes (and the nail bed of these toes) lateral plantar n. accompanies the lateral plantar a. though the sole of the foot
plantar, medial tibial n. plantar cutaneous brs.; proper plantar digital n. (medial side of the great toe); common plantar digital nn. (1st-3rd) abductor hallucis m., flexor hallucis brevis m., flexor digitorum brevis m., 1st lumbrical m. skin of the medial side of the plantar surface of the foot; skin of the plantar surface of the medial 3 1/2 toes (and the nail bed of these toes) medial plantar n. accompanies the medial plantar a. though the sole of the foot
plexus, lumbar ventral primary rami of spinal nerves L1-L4 branches of the lumbar plexus: iliohypogastric n., ilioinguinal n., genitofemoral n., lateral femoral cutaneous n., femoral n., obturator n., lumbosacral trunk (considered to be part of sacral plexus), brs. to the psoas major and minor mm., branches to the quadratus lumborum m. muscles of the lower abdominal wall; cremaster m., psoas major and minor mm., quadratus lumborum m., iliacus m.; muscles of the anterior and medial thigh and hip skin of the lower abdominal wall, skin of the anterior scrotum/labium majus, skin of the anterior and medial thigh and lateral hip lumbar plexus is noted for its variable branching pattern of nerves that supply the abdominal wall
plexus, lumbosacral ventral primary rami of spinal nerves L4-S4 branches of the lumbosacral plexus: iliohypogastric n., ilioinguinal n., genitofemoral n., lateral femoral cutaneous n., femoral n., obturator n., lumbosacral trunk (considered to be part of sacral plexus), brs. to the psoas major and minor mm., branches to the quadratus lumborum m., superior & inferior gluteal nn., n. to the obturator internus m., n. to the quadratus femoris m., sciatic n., n. to the piriformis m., posterior femoral cutaneous n., pudendal n., n. to the pelvic diaphragm, pelvic splanchnic nn. muscles of the lower abdominal wall; cremaster m., psoas major and minor mm., quadratus lumborum m., iliacus m.; muscles of the anterior and medial thigh and hip, muscles of the pelvic & urogenital diaphragm, posterior hip, posterior thigh, leg and foot skin of the lower abdominal wall, skin of the anterior scrotum/labium majus, skin of the anterior and medial thigh and lateral hip' skin of the perineum, posterior thigh, leg and foot also known as: lumbar & sacral plexuses
plexus, sacral lumbosacral trunk (ventral primary rami of spinal nerves L4-L5), ventral primary rami of spinal nerves S1-S4 superior & inferior gluteal nn., n. to obturator internus m., n. to quadratus femoris m., sciatic n., n. to piriformis, posterior femoral cutaneous n., pudendal n., n. to pelvic diaphragm, pelvic splanchnic nn. muscles of the pelvic diaphragm; muscles of the urogenital diaphragm; muscles of the posterior hip, posterior thigh, leg and foot skin of the perineum, posterior thigh, leg and foot (excluding the medial side of the leg and foot) the sacral plexus is often grouped with the lumbar plexus as the "lumbosacral plexus"
posterior femoral cutaneous n. sacral plexus (ventral primary rami of spinal nerves S1-S3) inferior cluneal nn.; perineal br. sympathetic motor innervation to skin skin of the lower buttock & posterior thigh cutaneous nn. carry postganglionic sympathetic axons to skin
proper plantar digital nn. common plantar digital; medial plantar n. (to the medial side of the great toe); superficial br. of the lateral plantar n. (to the lateral side of the 5th toe) no named branches flexor hallucis brevis m. (from the proper plantar digital n. on the medial side of the great toe) skin of the plantar surface of the toes and dorsal surface of the distal interphalangeal segment the nail bed is supplied by the proper plantar digital nn.
quadratus femoris m., n. to sacral plexus (ventral primary rami of spinal nerves L4-L5, S1) n. to the inferior gemellus m. quadratus femoris m., inferior gemellus m. none nerve to the quadratus femoris m. passes anterior to the obturator internus tendon
sacral plexus lumbosacral trunk (ventral primary rami of spinal nerves L4-L5), ventral primary rami of spinal nerves S1-S4 superior & inferior gluteal nn., n. to obturator internus m., n. to quadratus femoris m., sciatic n., n. to piriformis, posterior femoral cutaneous n., pudendal n., n. to pelvic diaphragm, pelvic splanchnic nn. muscles of the pelvic diaphragm; muscles of the urogenital diaphragm; muscles of the posterior hip, posterior thigh, leg and foot skin of the perineum, posterior thigh, leg and foot (excluding the medial side of the leg and foot) the sacral plexus is often grouped with the lumbar plexus as the "lumbosacral plexus"
saphenous n. femoral n. infrapatellar br. none skin of the medial side of the leg and medial side of the foot saphenous n. travels with the great saphenous v.; it does not pass through the adductor hiatus at the knee; it passes anterior to the medial malleolus at the ankle
sciatic n. sacral plexus (ventral primary rami of spinal nerves L4-L5 and S1-S3) tibial n., common fibular (peroneal) n. semitendinosus m., semimembranosus m., biceps femoris m., ischioconylar part of the adductor magnus m.; its branches supply all muscles of the leg and foot its branches supply the skin of the leg and foot (excluding the medial side of leg & foot) sciatic n. is composed of tibial and common fibular divisions; branches to muscles come from one of the two divisions, so that the sciatic n. is considered to have no direct muscular brs., only 2 terminal brs.
superficial fibular n. common fibular n. medial dorsal cutaneous n. to the medial side of the foot; dorsal digital nn. to the lateral 3 toes muscles of the lateral compartment of the leg (fibularis longus and brevis mm.) distal 1/3 of the anterior surface of the leg; dorsum of the foot excluding the skin of the web between the great toe and the 2nd toe and the distal interphalangeal segments of all toes "peroneal" is old terminology which has been replaced by "fibular"; the nail beds are supplied by nerves from the plantar surface of the foot
superior gluteal n. sacral plexus (ventral primary rami of spinal nerves L4-L5, S1) superior & inferior brs. gluteus medius m., gluteus minimus m., tensor fasciae latae m. none superior gluteal n. passes through the greater sciatic foramen superior to the piriformis m.
sural cutaneous, lateral common fibular n. fibular communicating br. none skin of the lateral side of the leg contains postganglionic sympathetic axons for supply of sweat glands, arrector pili mm. and blood vessels
sural cutaneous, medial tibial n. no named branches none skin of the posterior surface of the leg; skin of the lateral side of the foot unites with fibular communicating br. to form the sural n.
sural n. formed by the union of the fibular communicating br. of the lateral sural cutaneous n. and the medial sural cutaneous nn. lateral calcaneal brs., lateral dorsal cutaneous n. of the foot none skin of the posterior surface of the lower leg; skin of the lateral side of the foot sural n. courses posterior to the lateral malleolus at the ankle with the lesser saphenous v.
tibial n. sciatic n. medial sural cutaneous n., medial calcaneal brs., medial and lateral plantar nn. semimembranosus m., semitendinosus m., long head of biceps femoris m., ischiocondylar portion of adductor magnus m.; mm. of the superficial and deep posterior compartments of the leg (gastrocnemius m., soleus m., plantaris m., tibialis posterior m., flexor hallucis longus m., flexor digitorum longus m.); muscles of the plantar side of the foot skin of the plantar surface of the foot and toes; skin of the dorsal surface of the distal toes (nail bed region) tibial n. is the larger of the two divisions of the sciatic n.
to obturator internus m. sacral plexus (ventral primary rami of spinal nerves L5-S2 ) n. to the superior gemellus m. obturator internus m., superior gemellus m. none nerve to obturator internus m. crosses the ischial spine and enters the ischioanal fossa by passing through the lesser sciatic foramen
to quadratus femoris m. sacral plexus (ventral primary rami of spinal nerves L4-L5, S1) n. to the inferior gemellus m. quadratus femoris m., inferior gemellus m. none nerve to the quadratus femoris m. passes anterior to the obturator internus tendon


Some of the material presented in these tables is contained in the book:
MedCharts Anatomy by Thomas R. Gest and Jaye Schlesinger
Published by ILOC, Inc., New York. Copyright 1995.

The content of these tables has been edited for use in this course by Patrick W. Tank, Ph.D.
Copyright 2009, Department of Neurobiology and Developmental Sciences, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.
Unauthorized use is prohibited.




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