7 warning signs of phlebitis

7 warning signs of phlebitis

Heavy legs, hard calf… What if it was phlebitis? This complication characterized by the presence of a clot obstructing a vein can lead to embolism.

Heavy legs, hard calves, warm skin, pain, swelling: you may have signs of phlebitis, a condition also called “vein thrombosis” which is characterized by the formation of a clot in a vein. Most often, this clot is located in the veins of the legs or in the thigh and forms a blockage that prevents blood from circulating normally. Left untreated, phlebitis can lead to pulmonary embolism, a complication that can be fatal. How to recognize it in time? How to avoid it? Here are the 7 warning signs of phlebitis with Dr Laurence Allouche, angiologist and vascular doctor.

1. Calf pain

One of the main warning signs of phlebitis is a calf that is sore, which increases in volume and becomes hard when palpatedimmediately asks Dr Laurence Allouche. This characteristic symptom is linked to obstruction of the vein by the clot, hindering venous return and leading to an increase in venous pressure.If you feel pain, swelling or heaviness in your calfparticularly at the end of the day or after prolonged immobilization, consult a doctor.

2. Warm-to-the-touch skin

Do you feel the skin on your legs, calves or ankles feel hot when you touch it? “The inflammatory appearance with the appearance of heat usually occurs when the clot is located in a superficial vein, close to the skin“, explains the expert. An increase in skin temperature and a feeling of numbness in the leg should not be taken lightly as they can reveal a superficial vein thrombosis. Talk to your doctor.

3. The appearance of varicose veins

Do you notice the dilation of one or more fine veins (less than 3 mm in diameter), or even bluish, tortuous cords on your thighs or calves? These are varicose veins, permanent and abnormal dilation of a superficial vein which. “usually develops on the lower extremities following increased blood pressure“, explains Allouche. Varicose veins are a sign of venous insufficiency (malfunction of the valves inside the veins which prevent blood from flowing backward and back to the heart) and can lead, if not treated, to phlebitis. In case of varicose veins, avoid to expose yourself to the sun and heat (sauna, hammam, etc.) and practice physical activity regular.

4. Heavy legs even when resting

Are you comfortably seated on your sofa and your legs feel heavy? “A feeling of heaviness, even when restingmay be suggestive of a venous insufficiencyA circulation disorder in the leg veins which can develop into phlebitis“, says our expert. What to do ? Wear some support stockings. Wearing them allows sufficient pressure to be exerted to facilitate venous return. In addition, you can turn to herbal medicine by taking herbal teas or plant capsules which tone the veins and reduce the feeling of heaviness in the legs (ginkgo biloba, red vine, witch hazel, horse chestnut). Also consider lymphatic drainage at a physiotherapist.

5. “Pole” legs

Have your ankles swollen and you can no longer wear closed or strappy shoes? An ankle that appears swollen – a sign of edema – accompanied by redness may be linked to venous insufficiency, which itself can lead to phlebitis if left untreated. Similarly, legs in “post” – when the top of the calf is almost as wide as the ankle – bigger at the end of the day or when it is hot should alert. Edema can be easily recognized if by applying light pressure with your finger, the area remains marked for a few seconds.

6. A moderate fever

Pain and swelling in the legs which are accompanied by moderate fever around 38°C can be a warning sign of phlebitisunderlines Dr Allouche. But unfortunately, the typical signs of phlebitis are not always present, certain venous thromboses give very few warning signs.If a fever occurs suddenly and for no particular reason, seek medical advice. If in doubt, the doctor will have a venous Doppler ultrasound carried out by a vascular doctor.

7. A bluish, red or purple discoloration on the leg

A red, purplish, or even slightly bluish thigh, calf or ankle can reveal venous problems. “This coloring comes from the fact that the clot is located on a superficial vein, very close to the skinexplains the vascular doctor. This is a common symptom in cases of superficial venous thrombosis.If this redness is accompanied by pain and swelling in the area concernedyou must consult!

When to worry?

What should alert you, among the symptoms, is their unusual nature, recent and occurring on one side onlyexplains the angiologist. Especially if the signs occur in favorable circumstances or in a subject at risk.” In this case, “Iit is necessary see a doctor who, if he suspects phlebitis, will ask a Doppler ultrasound. This examination is painless and allows you to visualize the venous network and possible clots, using ultrasound.“, she explains.

  • THE anti coagulants “can be administered by injection but also orally, either as a relay injection, or directly from diagnosis, allowing treatment with simplified monitoring. The aim is to prevent the clot from spreading or even to obtain resorption of the clot”indicates the specialist.
  • There medical compression by socks, stockings or tights is intended to limit the risks of complications of phlebitis, by promoting venous return.
  • Other treatments include unclog the vein using a catheterbut are reserved for very special cases.