Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, MD, FFARCSI

Formation of blood clot in the thigh interrupts smooth flow of blood through the leg causing potentially serious complications. Majority of blood clots in the thigh form in the deep veins causing what is medically termed as Deep Vein Thrombosis or DVT. Rarely, a clot can form in an artery in the thigh, interrupting the flow of oxygenated blood in the leg. While a DVT interrupts blood flow from the leg, an arterial clot interrupts flow in to the leg. Some of the symptoms of venous and arterial blood clots in the thigh overlap, but the 2 conditions are distinguished based on certain differences. Go through the following piece of read to know all about the symptoms of blood clot in thigh & its treatments.

Symptoms of Blood Clot in Thigh

Symptoms Of Blood Clot In The Thigh

Some common symptoms of blood clot in the thigh are:

Leg Pain & Tenderness

A thigh clot can cause leg pain, but this is not always the case. Ones who do experience leg pain due to thigh blood clot, experience a gradual worsening of the pain with time. The individual will feel the pain in the calf if the clot is somewhere close to the knee. Affected individual will feel pain in both calf and thigh in cases of a DVT much higher on the thigh. The area over a clot is tender on palpation but this again is not always the case. An arterial clot in the thigh typically causes severe pain which is sudden in onset. The pain is especially much more severe than a DVT on the thigh. Tenderness of the leg muscles is a direct result of damage caused due to inadequate oxygen supply to the area. The muscles that are affected depend on the precise area of the clot.

Skin Discoloration & Temperature Changes

A blood clot in the thigh can cause the skin to become erythematous and warm over the affected area. This is as a result of inflammation. In cases of large clot in the thigh veins, there is bluish discoloration of the skin throughout the leg below the location of the clot. In arterial thigh clots, the skin below the level of the clot looks pale as a result of insufficient blood flow into the leg. The affected area also is cool to touch due to lack of proper blood flow in the arteries due to the clot.

Other Symptoms of Blood Clot in Thigh

DVT causes certain other symptoms like edema in the thigh and lower leg. The interruption of blood flow in the veins also causes swelling and makes these veins significantly prominent in the affected leg.

In case of arterial thigh clot, the portion of the leg below the clot does not get adequate supply of oxygenated blood. This results in the tissues to get necrosed due to lack of oxygen if normal flow of blood does not resume. Symptoms experienced due to lack of oxygen are burning and tingling sensation, numbness, absence of pulse below the level of the clot. In some cases, the nerves start to malfunction due to lack of adequate oxygen which may at times result in paralysis below the level of the clot.

What are the Complications Associated with a Blood Clot in the Thigh?

Blood clot in the thigh can also lead to complications like increased risk of pulmonary embolism, post-phlebitic syndrome, skin sores, skin discoloration and heart attack.

How is a Blood Clot in the Thigh Diagnosed?

Depending on the specific symptoms of blood clot in the thighs, the doctor can perform a physical examination of the affected area. The patient may also need to undergo tests like non-invasive ultrasound or x-rays for checking the image of the inside of the leg for the diagnosis of blood clot in the thigh.

What is the Treatment for Blood Clot in Thigh?

The treatments for blood clot in the thigh aim at stopping the growth of the clot and preventing the development of pulmonary embolism. They also help to decrease the risk of formation of more blood clots in the thigh.

Compression Stockings

The doctor may recommend wearing compression stockings every day. These can help prevent swelling and even decrease the chance of formation of clots. However, this treatment does not decrease the chance of recurrent DVT. Compression stockings reach just below the knee or just above it.

Medications

The doctor can prescribe blood thinning medications, like warfarin, heparin, enoxaparin, or fondaparinux to the patient for treating blood clot in thigh. These medicines make it tougher for the blood to clot, keep the existing thigh clots as small as possible, and decrease the risk of developing more clots in the thigh. If blood thinners fail to work or, if the DVT is severe, the doctor can administer thrombolytic drugs, intravenously, for breaking up blood clots in the thigh.

Filters

For patients unable to take blood thinners, the doctor may put a filter inside their large abdominal vein called the vena cava. This treatment helps in prevent pulmonary embolisms by keeping the clots in the thigh from entering the lungs. Filters should be used for short term until the risk of thrombo-embolism decreases and anticoagulation can be used. If left for long term, fillers can actually lead to DVT.

Blood clot in the thighs and legs can be prevented by exercising every day, losing excess weight, avoiding sitting still for long duration and quitting smoking.

Warning: Blood clot in the thigh is an emergency and the patient should be immediately taken to the nearest emergency room. With a DVT, there are 50% chances for clot breaking off and migrating to the lungs and cause potentially life threatening complication in the form of a condition called pulmonary embolus. Emergency evaluation and treatment is required in cases of symptoms of PE, like breathlessness, chest pain, breathing difficulty, coughing, rapid or irregular heartbeat, and blood stained phlegm are experienced by a DVT patient. A clot in the arteries of the thigh is again a serious medical condition and requires immediate, as normal blood flow should be restored as early as possible to prevent permanent damage to the tissues and eventual loss of limb.

Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD,FFARCSI

Pain Assist Inc.

Last Modified On: October 31, 2018

This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer

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