Is My Leg Pain a Sign of DVT?

If you feel a pain in your leg, it’s likely a cramp or a pulled muscle. But it could be a much more serious condition: blood clots of deep vein thrombosis, also called DVT.

Extended periods of inactivity increase your chances of developing deep vein thrombosis.Recent surgery is another risk factor for developing blood clots of DVT. If you have swelling in one leg, the area is painful and warm, and symptoms get worse over time, be sure to seek medical care.

While relatively rare — DVT affects about 300,000 to 600,000 people in the United States — it can have serious health consequences. DVT happens when a blood clot forms in a vein deep in the body, usually the lower leg or the thigh. If left untreated, the clot can break off and travel through the bloodstream to an artery in the lungs, blocking blood flow and possibly causing death.

A clot can cause problems even if it remains in the leg. “It can lead to chronic swelling in the leg, which can cause chronic pain, and at times cracking in the skin, which can lead to cellulitis, a skin infection,” said Larry Santora, MD, medical director of The Center for Heart and Vascular Wellness and Prevention, and The Cardiac Rehabilitation Center at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, Calif.

* The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.