Superficial thrombophlebitis is inflammation of a vein close to the surface of the skin. It happens most often in the leg. The condition is easily treatable. But, it can lead to more serious health concerns.
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Your chances of superficial thrombophlebitis are higher for:
- Women, mainly over 65 years old
- An injury, mainly to the lower leg
- Blood clotting problems
- Sitting for long periods of time
- Prolonged bed rest
- History of vein problems
- Certain cancers
- Family history of blood clotting problems
Superficial thrombophlebitis may cause:
- A cord like vein you can see. It may be tender when it’s touched. You may notice it develop over several hours to days.
- Redness and warmth surrounding the vein.
- Swelling around the vein.
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and health history. You may have:
In most cases, superficial thrombophlebitis goes away on its own after a few weeks. If needed, care may involve:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen
- Compression stockings
- Warm compress on the inflamed vein
- Blood thinners
- Procedures to remove the blood clot
To help lower your chances of superficial thrombophlebitis:
- Walk around the cabin and stretch your limbs every hour or so when you fly.
- Pull over every hour or so and stretch your limbs when you drive.
American College of Phlebology http://www.phlebology.org
Society for Vascular Surgery https://vascular.org
Canadian Society for Vascular Surgery https://vascular.ca
Health Canada https://www.canada.ca
Superficial vein thrombosis. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116756/Superficial-vein-thrombosis-SVT . Updated April 11, 2017. Accessed July 11, 2018.
Superficial venous thrombosis. Merck Manual Professional Version website. Available at: https://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/cardiovascular-disorders/peripheral-venous-disorders/superficial-venous-thrombosis. Updated March 2018. Accessed July 11, 2018.
5/4/2015 DynaMed Plus Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116756/Superficial-vein-thrombosis-SVT : Scott G, Mahdi AJ, et al. Superficial vein thrombosis: a current approach to management. Br J Haematol. 2015;168(5):639-645.
- Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Michael J. Fucci, DO, FACC
- Review Date: 05/2018
- Update Date: 07/11/2018