What Does a Blood Clot in Your Leg (DVT) Feel Like?

©2018 WebMD, Inc. All rights reserved. eMedicineHealth does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. See Additional Information.

What Does It Feel Like When You Have a Blood Clot in Your Leg (DVT)?

Reviewed on 9/5/2019

Ask a Doctor

I travel a lot by airplane and I sit at a desk for my job. I have some cardiovascular problems, so I worry about blood clots forming in my legs. I want to be vigilant about potential symptoms of deep vein thrombosis. What does DVT feel like?

Doctor's Response

Call a doctor immediately if a blood clot is suspected.

Signs and symptoms of a blood clot in the leg or deep vein thrombosis occur in the affected leg when a clot obstructs blood flow and causes inflammation. Signs and symptoms of DVT may include:

  1. Swelling
  2. Gradual onset of pain
  3. Redness
  4. Warmth to the touch
  5. Worsening leg pain when bending the foot
  6. Leg cramps, especially at night, and often starting in the calf
  7. Bluish or whitish discoloration of skin

Some people with deep vein thrombosis do not experience any symptoms.

  • Although a deep vein thrombosis may resolve on its own, the life-threatening consequences of a clot reaching the lung, called pulmonary embolism, are severe enough to warrant seeking medical attention immediately.
  • The doctor may tell the patient to go immediately to a hospital emergency department.

If a person has leg pain or swelling with any risk factors, go to a hospital emergency department immediately.

Call 9-1-1 if you or someone you know with a current deep vein thrombosis, previous deep vein thrombosis, or other DVT/PE risk factor begins having chest pain, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, fainting, or any other concerning symptom.

For more information, read our full medical article on deep vein thrombosis.

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors

Reviewed on 9/5/2019
References
Bauer, K.A., MD. "Approach to the diagnosis and therapy of lower extremity deep vein thrombosis." Updated July 15, 2014.
<https://www.uptodate.com/contents/approach-to-the-diagnosis-and-therapy-of-lower-extremity-deep-vein-thrombosis>

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Venous Thromboembolism. (Blood Clots).

FDA Prescribing Information. SAVAYSA™ (edoxaban).
<http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2015/206316lbl.pdf>

FDA Prescribing Information. ARIXTRA® (fondaparinux sodium) infection.
<http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2005/021345s010lbl.pdf>

Dentali, F., et al. "Pulmonary embolism severity index accurately predicts long-term mortality rate in patients hospitalized for acute pulmonary embolism." Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis . 11.12 (2013): 2103-2120.


Lucena, J., et al. "Pulmonary embolism and sudden-unexpected death: prospective study on 2477 forensic autopsies performed at the Institute of Legal Medicine in Seville." Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine. 16.4 (2009): 196-201.

MedlinePlus. Deep Vein Thrombosis. Thompson, B.T., MD. "Overview of acute pulmonary embolism in adults." Updated: Aug 08, 2016.
<http://www.uptodate.com/contents/overview-of-acute-pulmonary-embolism-in-adults>
CONTINUE SCROLLING FOR RELATED SLIDESHOW