Skip to content

Deep Vein Thrombosis Health Center

Font Size

Blood Clots in the Leg Veins - Topic Overview

Blood clots can happen in veins. A blood clot in a vein close to the skin isn't likely to cause problems. But having blood clots in deep veins is called deep vein thrombosis. Deep vein thrombosis happens most often in the legs. This problem can lead to a blood clot in the lung (pulmonary embolism).

The deep veins of the leg have different terms to describe their location:

Recommended Related to DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis)

Obesity and DVT

Being obese makes you more likely than people of normal weight to get a blood clot deep in a vein. The primary danger of this deep-vein thrombosis, or DVT, is that the clot, usually in the leg, can dislodge and travel to the lungs, causing a serious blockage known as a pulmonary embolism, or PE.

Read the Obesity and DVT article > >

  • Upper (proximal) leg veins are those above the knee but below the waist.
    • Popliteal veins are located behind the knee.
    • Iliac and femoral veins are in the groin area.
  • Lower (distal) leg veins are those below the knee.
    • Distal leg veins are located in the calf and ankle.

A person with a blood clot in a deep upper (proximal) leg vein is at increased risk for a blood clot in the lung or other complications.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
    1
    Next Article:

    Blood Clots in the Leg Veins Topics

    Today on WebMD

    TAG dvt blood clot
    Symptoms, causes, risk factors, and more.
    businesswoman in airport
    Tips to prevent another clot.
     
    blood thinners
    Tips for DVT.
    Blood clots in artery
    Causes and treatments.
     
    Simple Steps to Lower Cholesterol
    Slideshow
    Having Surgery Tips To Reduce DVT Risk And More
    Slideshow
     
    New DVT Therapies On The Horizon
    Video
    Atrial Fibrillation Guide
    Slideshow
     

    WebMD Special Sections