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How to Find a Pulse in Your Ankle & Knee

Updated February 21, 2017

While doctors on television and in the movies always check the wrist and the neck for a pulse, you can easily check for a pulse on different areas of your body. Different arteries run through your body, giving you different pulses. For example, pulse you find in your ankle is the posterior tibial pulse, while the pulse behind your knee is the popliteal pulse. Finding these pulses is simply a matter of knowing where to feel -- you need to position your fingers in a particular way to detect these pulses (See References 1).

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  1. Sit or lay on your back and bend your knee at a 90 degree angle. Rest your foot so that the leg is relaxed (See References 1).

  2. Grab your leg with both hands at the knee. Your index and middle fingers should dig into the soft flesh behind your knee while you squeeze with your thumbs on either side of the kneecap.

  3. Keep your leg relaxed while you squeeze the leg between your fingers and thumbs. Feel for the pulse with your index and middle fingers, adjusting them as necessary until you reach the artery (See References 1).

  4. Sit up and cross one leg over the other. The inside of the crossed leg's foot should be in your lap and accessible.

  5. Feel the medial malleolus -- this is the prominent ankle bone that juts out on the inside of your ankle.

  6. Press your thumb against the flesh just behind the medial malleolus. This is where the posterior tibial artery runs -- you will feel its pulse (See References 2).

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About the Author

Tom Ryan is a freelance writer, editor and English tutor. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in English writing, and has also worked as an arts and entertainment reporter with "The Pitt News" and a public relations and advertising copywriter with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

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