Phlebitis or thrombophlebitis are terms used to describe a group of symptoms including pain, swelling redness and tenderness of the superficial veins caused by inflammation and superficial blood clot formation. This syndrome occurs most often in the veins of the legs and is seen in patients with varicose veins, decreased activity, trauma or coagulation abnormalities.
*Please note this diagnosis is a different risk profile then blood clot formation in the deep veins or DVT (deep venous thrombosis).
Symptoms of Phlebitis
- Hard painful “knots”
- Redness and swelling
- Erythema (warmth of the area)
- Tender to the touch
- Appearance may be identical to superficial skin infections, urgent medical evaluation is very important
How is phlebitis treated?
- Symptoms may be very painful and concerning, but often resolve within 1-2 weeks.
- Warm compresses and over the counter anti-inflammatory medications (Tylenol, Motrin, etc.) may decrease symptoms
- Compression stockings may prevent future occurrences
- Treatment of the underlying vein abnormality