The tibial nerve passes through the popliteal fossa to pass below the arch of soleus. In the popliteal fossa the nerve gives off branches to gastrocnemius, popliteus, soleus and plantaris, and the sural nerve. The sural nerve is joined by fibres from the common peroneal nerve and runs down the calf to supply the lateral side of the foot. Below the soleus muscle the nerve lies close to the tibia and supplies the tibialis posterior, the flexor digitorum longus and the flexor hallucis longus. The nerve passes into the foot below the medial malleolus. Here it is bound down by the flexor retinaculum in company with the posterior tibial artery. The nerve and artery divide into medial and lateral plantar branches. The medial plantar nerve supplies the abductor hallucis, the flexor digitorum brevis, the flexor hallucis brevis and the first lumbrical. Cutaneous distribution of the medial planter nerve is to the medial sole and medial three and one half toes, including the nail beds on the dorsum (like the median nerve in the hand). The lateral plantar nerve supplies quadratus plantae, flexor digiti minimi, adductor hallucis, the interossei , three lumbricals. and abductor digiti minimi. Cutaneous innervation is to the lateral sole and lateral one and one half toes (like the ulnar nerve).
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