What Are the Symptoms of Blood Clots in the Legs?

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  • Written By: Nicole Long
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 09 June 2019
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The symptoms of blood clots in the legs include changes related to the color of the skin, increased warmth, and tenderness. In many cases, they also cause swelling and pain in the area of the clot.

Blood clots in the legs, also referred to as deep vein thrombosis, are a dangerous condition. They typically affect the calf and thigh, and the clots can block the flow of blood to other areas of the body. When a blood clot breaks free, it becomes a thrombo-embolus and can travel through the bloodstream. If it travels to the heart, lungs, or brain, the clot can lodge there, becoming an embolism, and cause irreversible damage or death.

Several factors that can increase the risk of blood clots in the legs have been identified, including smoking, trauma, obesity, and extended bed rest. People with a genetic predisposition to clotting problems, who have cancer, or who are taking medications, such as birth control pills and estrogen supplements, are also more likely to develop them. All of these have the potential to reduce blood flow or change the pattern of blood flow in the veins of the legs.

Deep vein thrombosis causes symptoms similar to any form of inflammation. This includes redness in the affected area, swelling, and tenderness, and the area will often feel warm to the touch. These symptoms are a result of blood flow being obstructed in the area because of the clot.


Other symptoms are also possible and can be quite noticeable. Patients may be able to feel the vein sticking out as a result of the blood clot. The pain in the area can also become progressively worse if left untreated.

People who have symptoms of a blood clot should seek medical attention quickly to lower the risk of it breaking off and affecting other parts of the body. Patients experiencing pain, swelling, and redness should seek the advice of a medical professional. If any of these symptoms are experienced along with trouble breathing and chest pain, emergency medical help is necessary.

Treatment for blood clots in the leg will depend on the severity of the situation. Hospitalization is often required so that medication to help dissolve the clot can be given. In addition, blood thinners may be prescribed to help keep blood clots from forming in the future. Surgery to remove the clot may be necessary in severe cases.



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