Arteries are blood vessels that convey oxygen-rich blood away from the heart and supply it to different parts of the body. The dorsal metatarsal arteries are part of the arterial pathway that supplies blood to the toes.
The first dorsal metatarsal artery is a continuation of the dorsalis pedis artery. It supplies the inner, top of the big toe and the space between the big toe and the second toe. The other metatarsal arteries (of which there are three) usually branch from the arcuate artery, which is a major branch of the dorsalis pedis artery. The branching of these arteries, however, is highly variable.
The dorsal digital arteries (which supply blood to the toes) and arterial branches to the sole of the foot, including the deep plantar branch, originate from the dorsal metatarsal arteries.
The dorsal metatarsal arteries, as their name implies, run along the top of the metatarsal bones, which are long bones in the mid-foot that lead to the bones of the toes. These arteries often form anastomoses (connections) with the plantar metatarsal arteries, which run along the bottom of the metatarsal bones. This results in an extensive arterial network, particularly around the heads of the metatarsals.