Saphenous Nerve

Written by Sharanya Bhaskaran

Last updated October 3, 2023 • 10 Revisions •

The saphenous nerve is a cutaneous branch of the femoral nerve in the lower limb.

It supplies innervation to the skin of the medial knee, leg, and foot.

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Course

The saphenous nerve arises from the posterior division of the femoral nerve at the level of the mid-thigh.

It accompanies the femoral artery within the adductor canal (a muscular tunnel located in the thigh).  At the end of the canal, the adductor hiatus, the saphenous nerve pierces the fascia between the sartorius and gracilis muscles on the medial aspect of the knee.

It then travels superficially along the medial side of the leg (accompanied by the long saphenous vein) – supplying the skin on the medial aspect of the knee, leg, and foot.

Fig 1
  Anatomical course of the femoral nerve and its two cutaneous branches – anterior cutaneous fibres and saphenous nerve.

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Sensory Functions

The saphenous nerve supplies cutaneous innervation to the skin of the anteromedial knee, leg and foot.

Fig 2
The cutaneous innervation of the branches of the femoral nerve.