Superficial Thrombophlebitis: Symptoms, Treatment & Home Remedies


Superficial thrombophlebitis is a common inflammatory condition of the veins due to a blood clot just below the surface of the skin. Usually, the disease occurs in the legs. However, it is also reported to develop in the penis, the breast, the arms or the neck.

Generally speaking, all people can be affected by superficial thrombophlebitis, but females are at higher risk than men are, especially during pregnancy. Being over the age of 60 is another risk factor for this disorder.


Superficial thrombophlebitis may occur after injury or having medicine given to your veins. If you have a high risk for blood clots, for no definite reason, you are more likely to develop the condition. Other risk factors for this disease include:

  • Being a woman
  • Aging over 60 years
  • Cancer or liver disease
  • A condition that affects your blood vessels, such as varicose veins
  • Deep vein thrombosis
  • Disorders that increase blood clotting
  • Recent IV, catheter, or injection into a vein
  • Infection
  • Recent surgery
  • Pregnancy
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Sitting or staying still for long periods
  • Use of birth control pills


The most typical symptom of superficial thrombophlebitis is skin redness, presenting as a red line, along a vein below the skin. Other signs and symptoms of the disease include:

  • Inflammation, tenderness, or pain along a vein just below the skin
  • Warmth of the affected area
  • Hardening of the vein
  • Limb pain
  • Darkening of the skin over the vein

Call your doctor if you have the above symptoms or if the symptoms get worse. If you develop new symptoms such as fever and chills, you should pay special attention. Because this could be a sign of a more serious illness or condition.


To diagnose superficial thrombophlebitis, your doctor will ask about your medical history and carry out a physical exam. During the exam, he or she will check carefully your pulse, blood pressure, blood flow and temperature to look for signs of the disease. Your doctor may also perform some tests to help with diagnosis. These tests include:

  • Doppler ultrasound.

This noninvasive test uses sound waves to measure blood flow and blood pressure.

  • Venography.

This is a rarely used type of X-ray. It captures images of your blood flow by injecting a special dye into your veins.

  • MRI or CT scan.

These scans provide images of the affected area to help the doctor see if there is clot in the vein.

  • Skin or blood culture.

If an infection is also suspected, your doctor will use a cotton swab to take a sample of the surface of the skin or draw blood from a vein to detect signs of infection.

Treatment & Home Remedies

Treatment for superficial thrombophlebitis is focused on reducing inflammation, pain and other discomforts. Options for treating this disease are:

  • Medications to treat infection and decrease swelling and pain, such as NSAIDs and medications to prevent more blood clots
  • Removal of an IV catheter if your IV is infected
  • Surgery to remove the blood clot or part of your vein in severe cases

Except for the above-mentioned treatment methods, you can also have some home remedies, including:

  • Wearing a warm compress to your arm or leg to help decrease pain and swelling
  • Wearing pressure stockings as directed to improve blood flow and help prevent clots in your legs
  • Elevating your leg or arm above the heart level as often as you can

Moreover, lifestyle changes like avoiding smoking, maintaining a healthy weight and changing your body position or move around often can also be effective to help relieve the symptoms and prevent further complications.

Keyword: superficial thrombophlebitis.

* 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.