The Plantar Venus Plexus 'Foot Pump' Illustrated

The Plantar Plexus Venous Pump

The plantar venous plexus pump is an area of anatomy that is involved with the function of pumping the blood back up the leg from the foot and is termed as the plantar plexus or the venous foot pump. The purpose is so that deoxyginated blood is pumped back up the leg to the next stage pump, to a more common area of anatomy called the calf pump. A crucial point is that the plantar venous plexus pump anatomy is directly involved with the action of walking. At the start of the pump process arterial blood that has transported oxygen and nutrients to the living tissues of the foot and leg needs to have its waste products removed. Waste products and carbon dioxide that have been exchanged via the capillary exchange need to be taken away and it the task of the venous foot pump system of the foot to do this.

How does the Plantar Plexus Venous Pump of the Lower Leg work?

By walking we flatten (create tension) the arch of the foot and we also relax (release tension) of the arch of the foot during the action of walking. The veins due to their anatomical structure and positioning in the arch of the foot come under tension when the foot arch is flattened, and the veins are narrowed and squeezed. The blood in those veins is forced out and up the leg whilst the valves in the veins are there to prevent blood from dropping backwards. During the relaxed phase of walking where the foot arch is not under tension and is where the blood rushes to refill the now empty veins. The anatomical difference is that the veins in the plantar plexus come under tension and narrow and when they are relaxed and fill with blood, they become more saggy in appearance.

The anatomy of the veins is made up of multiple large-diameter veins that span the arch of the foot. The veins thought to be directly linked to the plantar plexus pump action are the posterior tibial vein turning into the medial and lateral plantar veins. Compression of the plantar venous plexus, such as that which occurs during walking, is capable of significantly increasing flow through the venous system into the popliteal vein. Its function is integral to the venous outflow from the calf muscle pump and that is the next stage to the venous pump. This feature needed to be illustrated.

Please note this is a new science and there are differences of opinion in how the 'foot pump' functions during walking.

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Gallery of Medical Illustrations Describing the Anatomy of the 'Foot Pump'

Capillary exchange in the foot

Capillary exchange in the foot

Valves of the vein in action

Valves of the vein in action

Offloading explained

Offloading explained

 
Heel down mode of walking

Heel down mode of walking

Weight bearing phase

Weight bearing phase

Toe off phase mode of walking

Toe off phase mode of walking

 
The pump in the calfr

The pump in the calf muscles

The pump in the calfr

The pump in the calf muscles

Walking sequencer

Walking sequence 3 stages

 
Superfical and deep vein anatomyr

Superficial and deep vein anatomy