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What are the Signs of a Blood Clot in the Leg?

By Bethany Keene
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A blood clot in the leg can be dangerous and even deadly if it travels to the lungs, so it's important for people to recognize the signs. The most common include pain in the area around the blood clot, redness, swelling, and warmth in the limb that is affected. Additionally, the victim of a such a clot may experience leg cramps or increased pain when stretching the calf. Some people never experience these symptoms, however, which is what makes this condition especially dangerous.

When a clot develops in the leg, it's often known as deep vein thrombosis, or DVT. It can occur for a number of reasons, although trauma to the area, such as a severe bruise or broken bone, is one of the most common causes. Some people are also simply more prone to blood clotting problems. Recent surgical procedures may also cause blood clots to form, as can remaining in bed or sitting in a chair for prolonged periods of time. The most common signs of a blood clot in the leg include pain and swelling, so if someone experiences these symptoms, he or she should visit a healthcare professional immediately to discuss various treatment methods, such as anticoagulant medications.

Skin discoloration is another one of the signs of a blood clot in the leg. Some people will notice that the area appears more red than the surrounding skin, as it might with any injury, while others may notice that the skin has a blue or white appearance. When touched, the skin might feel warm as compared to the surrounding area or the other leg. It may become painful to walk and especially unpleasant to stretch the calf, which is one of the more common locations for blood clots.

These signs are easy to miss, but it is important for people to be vigilant, especially after any trauma to the leg that makes a clot more likely. If the clot is not treated and it travels to the lung, it can cause a pulmonary embolism or other serious issues that can lead to death. Shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting, or chest pain should always be treated as an emergency, as these can also be signs that the blood clot has traveled to the lungs or heart.

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Discussion Comments

By Sporkasia — On Feb 09, 2014

Drentel - If you think that is scary, read this. I saw a stat that said 5 percent of all plane travelers get blood clots. This is largely because of cabin pressure and dehydration which cause the blood to thicken.

That's why it is important to take something to drink when the flight attendants come around with the cart, and that's why you should get up and walk around on long flights. Also, you should be aware of blood clot symptoms.

By Drentel — On Feb 09, 2014

I remember reading somewhere a few years back about someone developing blood clots in his legs and it was thought to be from keeping his legs up too much and not getting out and exercising. That's scary.

By Animandel — On Feb 08, 2014

Blood clots do happen sometimes after surgery or doing illness in a hospital. However, hospital staff members are aware of this and take measures to see that clots do not develop. One of the primary ways to do this is by getting patients out of bed and moving about as soon as possible during recovery.

Hospital staff members are always on the look out for blood clot in leg symptoms and when they occur, symptoms can be treated appropriately and before they have time to cause more damage.

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