Although blood clots can form in the deeper veins of the legs, they can also form in the veins closer to the surface, especially within larger, twistier varicose veins. A section of your leg veins where phlebitis occurs usually becomes warm, with redness along the course of the vein, and is painful to touch and hard. In most cases, phlebitis may be painful, but not dangerous. However, as many as 25% of people with phlebitis have an underlying Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), which potentially could be dangerous.
Causes of phlebitis include anything injuring the vein such as direct injury, infection or surgery. It can occur from a long car ride or flight, or even without a known reason. Even if the symptoms go away on their own, the problem will typically come back unless the underlying cause is found and treated. Most of the time, underlying veins which typically drain out these veins are draining toward the phlebitic veins. By identifying the cause, the phlebitis can be cured.
Temporary treatment typically includes:
- pain relievers such as Ibuprofen or Naproxen (anti-inflammatory medicine found over the counter or by prescription)
- wearing prescription-strength graduated support hose
- frequent walking
- leg elevation above the heart when at rest
- topical moist heat.
However, to obtain a cure, the cause should be determined with a duplex ultrasound followed by treating the underlying veins that are usually the source.
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