Thrombophlebitis refers to inflammation and blood clot (thrombus) formation in the veins close to the skin’s surface (called the superficial veins). Here are some key facts to know:
- The condition is generally caused by irritation to the lining of the vein.
- Some common reasons for this are infections and prolonged intravenous medication use.
- In 90% of cases, it occurs in the leg; however, it can also occur in the arms or, more rarely, in other parts of the body.
- There is a very small risk of the blood clot traveling into the deeper veins, but serious complications due to thrombophlebitis are extremely rare.
Thrombophlebitis often causes redness that can be seen over the area of the affected vein. The vein may also feel hard and thick, like a piece of rope. Some people experience swelling and heat or pain over the vein. These symptoms sometimes are accompanied by a fever if the vein is infected.
Treatment for thrombophlebitis generally involves self-care techniques, such as the application of heat or rest and elevation of the area. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen may be helpful, and antibiotics may be prescribed if signs of infection are present.
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