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Saphenous Nerve

Last Updated: Jun 26, 2022

The saphenous nerve is a major peripheral nerve of the thigh and medial leg. It carries sensory information from the medial leg and medial foot to the brain. The saphenous nerve is the largest and longest branch to arise from the femoral nerve.


The saphenous nerve is a large peripheral nerve trunk of the lower limb. It arises from the femoral nerve in the anterior thigh and travels down the medial thigh through the adductor canal, posterior to the sartorius muscle and anterior to the adductor femoris and adductor magnus muscles. In the adductor canal, it runs parallel to the femoral artery and femoral vein until it reaches the knee. At the knee, the saphenous nerve exits the adductor canal and enters the subcutaneous layer between the dermis and the muscles of the thigh and leg.

In the leg, the saphenous nerve continues distally, running parallel to the great saphenous vein. As it descends, it forms many side branches that spread throughout the medial leg. Each of these branches further divides to form many smaller nerves that connect to the skin and muscles of the medial leg. The main saphenous nerve crosses the ankle and divides into a pair of terminal branches that terminate on the medial side of the foot proximal to the medial malleolus.


The saphenous nerve is a cutaneous — or sensory — nerve. As such, it provides sensory information from the skin and deep tissues of the medial leg and medial foot to the brain.