Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is the occurrence of blood clots in the deep veins of your body, most often in your legs. If left untreated, these clots may break away and travel to the lungs or heart, causing life-threatening conditions like pulmonary embolism. DVT can also cause lifelong swelling and deformity of the extremities.

To avoid these serious side effects, it’s a good idea to know which symptoms to watch out for with DVT. There are four classic symptoms of the condition:

  • Swelling in the affected foot, leg, or ankle
  • An area of skin that feels warmer than the skin around it
  • Skin over affected area turning red/purplish
  • Cramping pain that usually begins in the calf

In DVT, these symptoms result from the clot disrupting circulation, causing excess blood to accumulate in the affected vein. The swelling that results causes the pain, warmth, and discoloration mentioned above.

It’s also important to note that, while symptoms of DVT may mirror those of a pulled or strained leg muscle, they will not lessen over time as they will with a healing muscle strain. Further, while elevating a leg with a muscle strain will often result in the swelling going down, this is not the case in swelling that results from DVT.

And finally, as stated above, one of the serious dangers of DVT is that it may result in a blood clot traveling to the lungs, called pulmonary embolism. Some symptoms of pulmonary embolism are:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Coughing up blood
  • Pain when taking deep breathes
  • Rapid breathing/fast heartbeat

DVT can cause lifelong deformities and even life-threatening conditions like pulmonary embolism. If you are experiencing the symptoms listed above, it’s a good idea to consult your physician about potentially testing for DVT.