When Varicose Veins Clot
- Posted on: Jun 15 2017
As if having swollen, gnarled veins were not bad enough, people with varicose veins may also feel concerned about secondary issues such as a vein bursting and bleeding. On the other end of the spectrum is the concern of clotting. After all, in a normal wound scenario, a clot is exactly what the body wants. Could a varicose vein clot? And if so, could that be dangerous? Let’s take this step by step.
Varicose veins indicate that blood has begun to pool in a particular part of a vein. This may be a very small portion of a vein in the leg, or it could extend to a significant percentage, resulting in a very noticeable appearance. Blood pools in a vein when the valves that support the ascension of blood back toward the heart weaken. They no longer push hard enough against gravity to keep blood moving. Hence, backflow occurs.
There is a possibility that the swelling of a varicose vein will become too strong, and a small nick or bump could cause the vessel to let loose. Another consequence that could occur is that the body could perceive the weakness of an affected vessel as an injury. Should this occur, the natural response would be to thicken the platelets and protein in the blood enough to form a clot. This is referred to as superficial thrombophlebitis.
No one likes the sound of a blood clot inside of a vein. This can create a fear that the blood clot may release at some point, and head straight for the lungs or the heart. According to studies, embolism, or a blood clot that blocks vital blood flow, is more common when a clot develops in a deep vein, not in a superficial vein.
When a clot forms in a superficial varicose vein, the following symptoms may occur:
- Tenderness to the touch
- Skin discoloration or darkening
- Skin warmth in the area of the vein
- Redness along the vein
- Hardness of the vein
Treatment for Superficial Thrombophlebitis
If you experience symptoms that indicate the potential for a superficial clot, schedule an evaluation of the vein. Diagnostic testing may be performed to ascertain the severity of the blockage and guide a course of treatment.
In many cases, home care is recommended to resolve a superficial clot. However, there are some situations in which vein removal is necessary to avoid complication.
Dr. Reynolds has specialized in vein conditions and treatments for more than a decade. For personal care to support vein health, call (803) 253-8667.