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December 16, 1968

Palpation of Dorsalis Pedis Pulse

Author Affiliations

Bloomfield Hills, Mich

JAMA. 1968;206(12):2745. doi:10.1001/jama.1968.03150120079038

To the Editor:—  Because of the surgical anatomy of the dorsalis pedis artery, there is a maneuver by which this pulse can be evaluated with great success, namely dorsiflexion of the foot, during palpation of the artery (Fig 1). It is suggested that this be the routine position for palpation of this pulse, since about 30% to 40% of normally palpable dorsalis pedis pulsations can be completely obliterated by active or passive plantar flexion of the foot or great toe (Fig 2).Clinically, the pulsation of a peripheral blood vessel is an indication of the blood flow through that vessel. Arterial patency is evaluated by palpation of the vessel. The most consistent physical finding of occlusive disease of the femoral artery and its branches are (1) absent, (2) diminished, or (3) unequal pulsations in the vessels being examined. In evaluation of the vascular tree of the lower extremity, careful palpation