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Vascular Ultrasound for Popliteal Artery Entrapment

Vascular ultrasound is a noninvasive ultrasound method. It is performed to test the blood circulation in the vessels of your body. It is also known as the “duplex study”. This test is used to examine the flow of blood in various body parts namely; in the arteries of the arms, legs, and neck. This is a non-surgical test, used to judge the blood flow through your arteries.

How Does Vascular Ultrasound Work?

In this procedure, sound waves of high frequency are used to create images in detail. These sound waves travel through our blood vessels and soft tissues. Echoes are created by sound waves as they pass through our bodies computers turn these echoes into videos or images. This test does not include tools, that’s why it is a noninvasive procedure. It is used to examine the parts of the circulatory system which includes arteries, veins, and arteries. To assess for popliteal artery entrapment, an initial screening examination through ultrasound is used.

There are 5 kinds of vascular ultrasound and each of them is aimed at for different purpose.

Popliteal Artery Entrapment Syndrome

PAES is an uncommon vascular condition that occurs when the calf muscles compress the main artery located behind the knee and restricting blood flow through the legs.

The Function of the Popliteal Artery

It is the main artery, to supply blood to the lower part of the leg means to the knee. It is the main vascular supply in the region of the knee and lower part of the leg. The popliteal artery is one of the main arteries of the leg, the popliteal vein runs back to the PA and receives blood from various tributaries.

Two Popliteal Arteries

There are two popliteal arteries in our body, one in our right leg and the other is in left leg. Both are located behind your knee and run behind your knee pit. Several arteries pass through your lower leg, all of these are connected with the popliteal artery, which eventually supplies all the blood to your foot. When the popliteal artery is pressed back, it naturally reduces blood flow, resulting in pain and cramping in the back lower part of the leg.

Time to Consult the Doctor

You must have to consult your doctor, if you are bearing any type of pain in your leg. Especially if you are having any calf cramping during any workout or activity, and get relief from that after taking rest.

Major Cause of Popliteal Artery Compression

Mostly this problem occurs during exercise, but it eventually disappears when you take some rest. It can also cause permanent damage by the time to the artery wall. If your calf muscle is bigger than normal and in the correct position, this can also cause contraction of the popliteal artery. Those who walk or do heavy body exercise develop this pain. Anyone can have this problem by birth too. Although PAES can affect equally men and women. But it is most commonly found in young male athletes. One who is a runner, bicyclist, or who tries to build muscles fast with heavy exercise is at greater risk of this problem.

Symptoms of Pain:

One of the main signs is cramping or pain which appears in the calf during work-out and can be better with rest. There are some other signs which are listed below:

  • Insensitivity in the calf area
  • Cold feet after exercise or any other activity.
  • Swelling in the lower legs
  • Flaming calf


Long-lasting pressure on the popliteal artery makes it narrow thus causing pain, swelling, and cramping. In most cases, the muscles and nerves of the legs can damage. The occurrence of blood clots may appear. Aged athletes should go for a vascular ultrasound near me, if signs of compressed popliteal artery appear in them, which is common to them.

Various tests are used to examine this problem, it includes;

  • ABI (ANKLE –BRACHIAL INDEX) This is the first general test done to diagnose PAES.
  • DUPLEX ULTRASOUND OF THE CALF is a high-frequency test, to determine the flow of blood in your arteries.
  • MRA(MAGNETIC RESONANCE ANGIOGRAPHY)denotes the calf muscle that is blocking the artery. It can also tell how tight the popliteal artery is.
  • CT angiography shows the cause of the popliteal artery entrapment, through the muscle of the leg.
  • CATHETER-BASED angiography allows the doctor to observe how blood circulation is taking place.

How Can PAES Be Diagnosed?

It is really difficult to diagnose PAES as it is not so common and affects mostly healthy youngsters. If you are having joint pain or some other muscular problem, it can be a warning sign of PAES. By vascular ultrasound exam, this problem can be detected. By using sound waves of high-frequency, a vascular ultrasound exam shows the blood flow in your arteries.


It is a hand device named a “transducer”. It transmits sound waves of high frequency when placed on a particular part of the body. A gel is used to start this process on the skin to move the transducer easily. This device then collects the sounds and when the soundwaves bounce back, the computer can create an image on the screen. Ultrasound exams are non-surgical and therefore pain-free.

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