Q:

What causes phlebitis in the leg?

A:

Quick Answer

Phlebitis, which means inflammation of a vein, and the resulting thrombophlebitis in the leg is caused by one or more blood clots lodged in the vein, according to WebMD. The vein can be deep or superficial.

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Full Answer

If the phlebitis is in a superficial leg vein, the vein is red, warm and tender, and the skin in the area might be swollen and itchy, according to WebMD. The patient might also feel a burning sensation, and there might be a low-grade fever and ulceration if the area is infected. The symptoms tend to be worse first thing in the morning.

The symptoms of deep vein phlebitis resemble those of phlebitis in superficial veins, but the patient may find that his entire leg swells and hurts for no reason, says WebMD. In some patients, the symptoms of deep vein phlebitis are silent. If the patient feels he has any form of phlebitis, he should see his doctor. Symptoms such as a high fever, lumps in the leg with swelling, intense pain and shortness of breath should be treated as medical emergencies. A clot in the leg vein can break off and travel to the lungs.

Doctors treat patients who are otherwise healthy by prescribing anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and compression stockings, states WebMD. It also helps for a phlebitis patient to walk and avoid prolonged bed rest.

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