Popliteal Entrapment

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Popliteal entrapment is compression of the popliteal artery, which supplies blood to the knee joint and thigh and calf muscles. It can cause the artery to become blocked or an aneurysm to form.

Causes of Popliteal Entrapment

Popliteal entrapment is more likely to occur in active young men. You may be at risk if you experience: 

  • An abnormally developed muscle pressing on the artery
  • Pressure on the artery from a ligament

Symptoms of popliteal entrapment include:

  • Muscle pain in the calf
  • Reduced blood flow to the legs (chronic leg ischemia)

Diagnosis & Treatment at UVA

At UVA, we can diagnose you by using these tests:

  • Angiography
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or magnetic resonance angiography (MRA) scan
  • Ultrasound

Surgery to relieve compression of the popliteal artery is the most common treatment option. Severe cases may require reconstruction of the popliteal artery.


Content was created using EBSCO’s Health Library. Edits to original content made by Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice.