Common blood clot symptoms in leg
Blood clot symptoms in leg can be very non-specific. It is very important to think about the possibility of a blood clot when you have any new symptom in your leg. If you have risk factors for a blood clot, you need to be specially vigilant. Here are some common blood clot symptoms in leg:
- Swelling of a leg
- Pain in a leg
- Redness of a leg
- Increased warmth of a leg
- Prominent appearance of the veins in a leg
These common blood clot symptoms in leg are very non-specific and non-sensitive. It means that you may have these symptoms without a blood clot in your leg. You may also have blood clot in leg without any of the common blood clot symptoms.You need to be very careful not to dismiss your symptoms even when your symptoms do not match with any of the above mentioned symptoms. It is important to note the warning signs and learn about the situations when you really need to think about possible blood clot in your leg.
Signs of blood clot in leg: Warning signs and high risk situations
- You have symptoms in one leg only.
- You have very abrupt onset of symptoms in a leg.
- You have onset of blood clot symptoms in leg after a prolonged period of rest.
- You have onset of blood clot symptoms in leg after a long car drive.
- You have onset of blood clot symptoms in leg after getting a diagnosis of cancer.
- your one entire leg is swollen.
- You notice a significant difference in the size of your 2 legs.
- You have pitting edema of one leg only; If you press on your swollen leg, it forms an indentation that lasts for a while.
- It hurts to touch your leg along a particular line going up your calf and into your thigh.
- You have a strong family history of blood clots.
- You have had blood clot(s) in the past.
Blood clot symptoms in leg only affect one leg most of the times. Blood clot symptoms also start very abruptly. If you have any symptom in just one leg that started out of nowhere, you need to be very concerned about the possibility of a blood clot. You need to learn about some known risk factors that can increase the odds of having a blood clot. A long car drive, a long flight, recent surgery, immobility, family history of blood clots, having a diagnosis of cancer, and having a prior history of blood clot(s) are all associated with an increased risk of getting a blood clot in leg. If you have these risk factors, you need to take your symptoms seriously and seek medical care.
What does a blood clot in the leg feel like?
In addition to knowing the common blood clot symptoms in leg, you need to understand what it feels like to have blood clot in the leg. In my hospital practice, I have treated hundreds of patients with blood clots in their legs. As I speak to them, I try to find out what they feel like when they have blood clot symptoms in their legs. Most patients notice the sudden onset of their symptoms. They feel like the symptoms came out of nowhere.
One patient described that he was feeling fine just watching TV at home when he felt some uneasy sensation in his right leg. He had his feet up on the ottoman at that time with both feet resting on the top of the ottoman. He then crossed his leg and put his right leg on top of his left leg. He continued to watch TV but his right leg still did not feel right. After several minutes he got off the couch and walked around in his living room. He now had a gnawing tightness in his right calf. He sat on a chair and tried to massage his right leg. When he looked at it, he was concerned. It looked somewhat different. It was a little bigger that the other leg and it appeared a little red and shiny. When he tried to massage it, he felt a little tenderness. Not knowing what to do, he called his doctor’s office. The nurse who picked up the phone told him to go to the nearest hospital ER to get it checked out. They did a doppler ultrasound of his leg and found out he had a blood clot in his leg.
Symptoms of blood clot in leg calf
Posterior calf is the most common part of the leg where many people notice their blood clot symptoms. The deep veins of the legs run along the posterior part of the legs. They climb up the legs running deep in the calves. When you have a blood clot in these deep veins, you get symptoms of blood clot in leg calf. Usually, but not always, symptoms of blood clot in leg calf are less serious that the symptoms of blood clot in thigh and other upper region of deep leg veins.
Blood clot in thigh:
The deep veins of the leg run up to the thigh from the back of the calf and continue upward. From there they turn a little forward and go inside the pelvic area. Blood clot in thigh can have more serious symptoms. They can cause swelling of the whole leg. Blood clot in thigh and other upper part of deep leg veins can cause more complications than blood clot limited to leg calf.
What causes blood clots in legs?
There are three things that cause blood clots in legs:
- Slowing of the flow of blood in leg veins
- Increased coagulability of blood
- Damage of leg veins
When you do not move for a long time, the flow of blood in your leg veins slow down. After a surgery, your body makes more clotting factors and the coagulability of your blood goes. After an accident or a trauma, you may have damaged veins in your legs. This is why the risk of blood clot is higher after immobility, surgery and trauma.
How to identify a blood clot?
It is not possible to identify a blood clot by just looking at your leg. Even experienced doctors cannot identify a blood clot in the leg even after examining your leg in detail. You need a special testing to identify a blood clot in your leg. The test is called doppler ultrasound. Doppler ultrasound uses sound waves to measure the flow of blood in blood vessels. An ultrasound technician can use a doppler ultrasound to measure the flow of blood inside your leg veins. Doppler ultrasound is the most commonly used test to identify a blood clot in the leg.
I hope you learned more about blood clot symptoms in leg. Please call your doctor to get tested with a doppler ultrasound if you are concerned about blood clot symptoms in your leg. Alternatively, you can go to the nearest emergency department and get tested if you think you have worrisome signs of blood clot in your leg (warning signs).