Vein inflammation on the legs, symptoms and remedies

Vein inflammation (also superficial vein thrombosis or thrombophlebitis) is the inflammation of one or more veins due to clot formation.

Clots usually form in the veins of the lower extremities, but they can also form in the veins:

  1. of the arm,
  2. of the neck.

Vein inflammation, which occurs in the veins of the outer layers of the skin, is called superficial phlebitis, while blood clots in the deeper veins are called deep vein thrombosis.

As a rule, superficial phlebitis is not serious, while deep vein thrombosis is a dangerous disease because the clot can get stuck and form an embolus.

The embolus travels with the blood circulation and can reach the small pulmonary arteries.

Here it can get stuck, as it is larger than the artery, and thus block the blood circulation.

Anyone can develop phlebitis, but it is more likely in the elderly, especially in bedridden patients.

Type of phlebitis:

  1. Chemical – it is caused by irritating substances or medications, such as chemotherapy.
  2. Mechanical – it can occur due to a blood sample, in which there is trauma to the vein wall.
  3. Infectious or septic – it can be caused by a bacterial infection after inserting an IV needle.
  4. Lymphangitis is the inflammation of a lymphatic vessel.


Causes of phlebitis

  • Inserting a cannula or venous catheter (a flexible tube used to introduce medication or fluids) can injure a superficial vein.
  • surgical incision in a vein for bloodletting and for the treatment of varicose veins or varicose veins using sclerotherapy.
  • Intravenous injections of drugs can lead to injury to a superficial vein wall, thus causing phlebitis.
  • Traumatic thrombophlebitis is the most common form of phlebitis. Some diseases can promote this disorder.
  • The intravenous administration of lipids (fats) to patients who cannot feed themselves.
  • Trousseau syndrome (or thrombophlebitis migrans) is a condition characterized by repeated inflammation of the veins. It can sometimes occur in the context of cancer of internal organs.
  • Varicose veins can be accompanied by superficial phlebitis.

Causes of deep vein thrombosis

Deep vein thrombosis can be caused by anything that hinders blood circulation or normal clotting.

The most common cause is trauma to the vascular wall.

Phlebitis can also be the result of prolonged inactivity.

People who sit or lie down for a long time have a greater risk of getting sick, for example:

  1. During a long flight,
  2. During recovery after surgery.

Risk factors include:

  1. Overweight
  2. Smoke
  3. Pregnancy
  4. oral contraceptives,
  5. medication (for example, chemotherapy),
  6. Combustion
  7. insect bite (rare),
  8. Some tumor types – Some tumors can increase the risk of clot formation because they affect the normal clotting process.
  9. The state of increased coagulability increases the risk of phlebitis and thrombosis.

Thrombophlebitis migrans

If the patient has thrombophlebitis in the right calf and after a few days it appears in the left calf, he may suffer from a tumor:

  1. of the stomach,
  2. of the lungs,
  3. of the large intestine.

Thrombophlebitis and deep thrombophlebitis migrans may be the first sign of this disease.

According to the theory of the blood group diet, gluten in the diet is one of the main causes of the formation of phlebitis.

This sticky substance is supposed to glue the vein walls together.

Mondor disease

Mondor syndrome is rare and characterized by thrombophlebitis of a pectoral vein.

It is recognized as a sudden strand under the skin that is initially reddened and painful, and subsequently becomes a line that:

  1. Derb is,
  2. Fibrös is.

The overlying skin is tense and retracts.

This harmless disease can develop in a breast tumor (breast cancer).

It requires only symptomatic treatment.

In general, Mondor syndrome passes on its own after a few weeks (rarely months). There is no risk of embolism. (Dermatologic diseases of the breast and nipple. – Whitaker-worth DL, Carlone V, Susser WS, Phelan N, Grant-Kels JM – J Am Acad Dermatol. 2000 Nov; 43(5 Pt 1):733-51; quiz 752-4).

Penile Mondor syndrome is thrombophlebitis of the dorsal superficial penile vein.

It suddenly appears like a strand on the back surface of the penis.

Reasons for this can be:

  1. A trauma,
  2. A surgical intervention,
  3. A compression.

Patients perceive the superficial vein as a rough and painful strand.

Penile Mondor syndrome can lead to psychological distress and prevention of sexual intercourse.

Rarely, similar strand-like formations can be found:

  1. In the bar,
  2. On the abdomen,
  3. On the arm,
  4. On the forearm and
  5. In the armpit.

In the latter area, it can occur after biopsy of an axillary sentinel lymph node.

Symptoms of phlebitis

A person with deep vein thrombosis may have reddened skin and swelling on the affected leg or arm.

Symptoms depend on the type of phlebitis.

Common symptoms of superficial and deep thrombosis are:

  1. A strand-like structure that can be felt under the skin of the leg;
  2. Reddening
  3. Ache
  4. Swelling
  5. Burning skin
  6. Insensitivity
  • Inflammation of a superficial vein causes pain around the affected vein up to the hands or feet.
  • Redness on the skin along the superficial vein on the arms or legs.
  • The skin around the vein may become overheated
  • In case of infection, fever

Symptoms can worsen when the limb is lowered, especially when you get out of bed in the morning.

Special symptoms of thrombophlebitis

Hardened and inflamed veins under the skin that can be seen with the naked eye.

In DVT, the blood clot can travel to other parts of the body (such as the heart, lungs, etc.) and lead to a pulmonary embolism there.

A person suffering from DVT may have the following symptoms if they develop a pulmonary embolism:

  1. Accelerated heartbeat
  2. Shortness
  3. Chest pain

Thrombophlebitis can cause or worsen a lower leg ulcer.

Diagnosis of phlebitis

The responsible specialist is the angiologist who carries out the clinical examination and takes the anamnesis. It may also order the following investigations:

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): It gives a three-dimensional image of the affected area and allows the presence of a clot to be detected.

EchoDoppler for deep vein thrombosis [/caption]

EchoDoppler: In this examination, high-frequency sound waves are emitted into the affected area.

The reflection creates an image on the monitor that can be used to verify the presence of a clot.

Blood tests: Tests are performed to detect the presence of high D-dimers (a blood clotting substance).

If the D-dimer value is normal, phlebitis can be ruled out. However, if it is high, it does not always mean that the patient has thrombosis.

Thus, this examination is carried out only to exclude thrombophlebitis.

Treatment of thrombophlebitis

Treatment of thrombophlebitis depends on the type and affected area of the body.

DVT must be treated immediately, because if neglected, complications such as an embolism can arise.

The doctor prescribes anticoagulants to prevent the development of further blood clots.

Heparin and enoxaparin (Clexane) are drugs that are injected and quickly thin the blood.

Warfarin (Coumadin) is injected immediately, but takes a few days to reach a therapeutic level in the blood. Therefore, Lovenox is used as a transition until this status is reached.

Prothrombin time is a blood test that measures the speed of blood clotting. It is used to determine the dose of warfarin.

For the pain, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can be used, while antibiotics are indicated for infections.

When to operate on phlebitis?

According to a study by Sullivan V. et al. (Ligation versus anticoagulation: treatment of above-knee superficial thrombophlebitis not involving the deep venous system – J Am Coll Surg. 2001 nov; 193 (5): 556-62), surgical ligation and excision of the vein with its branches can:

  1. Remove existing varicose veins,
  2. Improve the aesthetic aspect,
  3. Reduce pain,
  4. Prevent a recurrence,
  5. Shorten the time for recovery and taking anticoagulants.

In severe cases of infected thrombophlebitis, surgery may be required.

The operation may be necessary if the phlebitis affects blood circulation and hinders daily activities.

It may also be necessary to prevent the progression of deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism.

Rarely, the removal of a vein (for example, the saphenous vein or the poplitea on the lower extremity) helps.

Therapy of superficial phlebitis

Superficial phlebitis can be treated at home.

➞ Treatment usually involves the application of hot or cold compresses in the affected area.

➞ Pain and inflammation can be reduced by painkillers and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.

➞ A compression bandage can be helpful (for example, as an elastic stocking). You can use a bandage containing zinc oxide to reduce swelling.

➞ Although anticoagulants are not common in superficial thrombophlebitis, doctors may recommend them to patients with venous circulatory disorders or if they have had other episodes of phlebitis to prevent deep vein thrombosis.

Attention, physiotherapy is contraindicated in deep vein thrombosis, because it can promote detachment of the thrombus, which could trigger a dangerous pulmonary embolism.

Above all, it should be avoided:

  1. Manual lymphatic drainage,
  2. Massage,
  3. Pressure therapy,
  4. Instrumental pain therapies such as Tecarlaser and ultrasound.

At the first stage, the doctor recommends refraining from sports, and especially running.

Natural remedies for phlebitis

Treatments for phlebitis are aimed at reducing inflammation in the vascular system, regardless of its cause.

The most helpful home remedies from grandmother’s time that regulate circulation and inflammation are lemon, cayenne pepper and molasses.

Regular exercise is important to promote circulation.


Molasses is a nutritious, highly concentrated substance.


  1. Magnesium
  2. Potassium
  3. Iron
  4. Many other nutritious substances.

Molasses helps to eliminate free radicals and thin the blood.

Cayenne pepper

This substance is rich in capsaicin, which has a blood-thinning effect and regulates blood circulation. Cayenne also helps for:

  1. Pain
  2. Reduction of inflammation.


Garlic improves blood circulation and prevents the formation of blood clots. It also helps to lower blood pressure.

  • Consume 2-3 raw garlic cloves daily on an empty stomach.
  • One can also massage an affected area with garlic oil to improve circulation and reduce pain and swelling.

Vitamin e

Foods that contain a lot of vitamin E are natural anticoagulants.

Vitamin E can be found in olives, corn and soybean oil.

Foods that contain a lot of vitamin E include:

  1. vegetables such as spinach, broccoli and cauliflower,
  2. Tomatoes
  3. Kiwi
  4. Mango

Caution: Do not consume large amounts of leafy vegetables when taking warfarin.

Green leafy vegetables contain vitamin K, which limits the effects of warfarin.

Diet and natural nutrition for leg vein inflammation

According to the blood group diet, in order to avoid the formation of clots and phlebitis, one should:

  1. Do not eat cereals containing gluten, but also limit other cereal products,
  2. Drink less than a liter of water a day to avoid swelling in the legs.

How long does the disease last? Prognosis for patients with phlebitis

Usually, recovery times after phlebitis are 3-4 months.

Recurrence occurs in 15–20% of patients (superficial thrombophlebitis of lower limbs. Husni EA, Williams WA Surgery. 1982 Jan; 91(1):70-4).

Patients who develop a recurrence are mostly:

  1. Elderly
  2. Overweight
  3. Have an increased coagulation factor VIII.

Deep vein thrombosis heals in a period of 3 to 4 months, but it can take longer in severe cases.

Prevention of phlebitis

To prevent phlebitis, prolonged sitting and wearing tight trousers should be avoided.

When sitting for a long time, you should not overturn your legs and do not keep your knees bent too much.

Regular physical exercise:

  • Helps blood circulation,
  • Prevents phlebitis.

The duration of daily physical exercises depends on the daily activity.

A person with sedentary work (civil servant, truck driver, etc.) should walk at least 1 hour a day.

People who do not have sedentary work (such as warehouse workers) only need to walk 40 minutes a day.

You should also get up every 2 hours and walk a few steps or lift yourself on your toes 20 times.

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