Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) Symptoms

Deep vein thrombosis can have the same symptoms as many other health problems. But about half the time, this blood clot in a deep vein, often in your leg, causes no symptoms.

If you're over 60, you smoke, you're overweight, or you sit for long periods of time, your risk for the condition is higher, so stay alert for signs of a problem. Talk to your doctor right away if you think you might have DVT.

Symptoms of DVT

Call your doctor right away if you have these DVT symptoms, especially if they appear suddenly:

  • Swelling in one or both legs
  • Pain or tenderness in your leg, ankle, foot, or arm. It might feel like a cramp or charley horse that you can’t get rid of. Leg and foot pain might happen only when you stand or walk.
  • Warm skin on your leg
  • Red or discolored skin on your leg
  • Veins that are swollen, red, hard, or tender to the touch that you can see

Call 911 or go to an emergency room right away if you notice leg pain or swelling and:

  • Sudden coughing, which may bring up blood
  • Sharp chest pain or chest tightness
  • Pain in your shoulder, arm, back, or jaw
  • Rapid breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain when you breathe
  • Severe lightheadedness
  • Fast heartbeat

If you have a blood clot and it breaks free, it could travel to your lungs. That's called a pulmonary embolism, and it can be deadly. Like DVT, it may not cause symptoms.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by James Beckerman, MD, FACC on July 17, 2019

Sources

SOURCES:

American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: "Deep Vein Thrombosis."

American Academy of Family Physicians: "Deep Vein Thrombosis."

Society of Interventional Radiology: "Deep Vein Thrombosis."

Society for Vascular Surgery: "Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)."

RadiologyInfo.org: "What Is Vascular Ultrasound?" "What Is MRI of the Body?"

FDA: "Avoid Deep Vein Thrombosis: Keep the Blood Flowing."

Mayo Clinic: “Blood Clots: When to see a doctor,” “Thrombophlebitis.”

Medscape: “Deep Venous Thrombosis (DVT) Clinical Presentation.”

UpToDate: “Clinical presentation and diagnosis of the nonpregnant adult with suspected deep vein thrombosis of the lower extremity.”

Blood Clot Recovery Network: “When should I call my doctor?”

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