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Information about infections in the veins.

This is an irritation of the smooth inner lining of a vein. The roughening of the vein lining can encourage the formation of clots. The vein is reddened and inflamed and can sometimes be felt as thick cord beneath the skin. This can also occur as the result of poor injecting technique, infection or accidental injury.

Phlebitis (fle-BYE-tis)  simply means an inflammation of a vein. Thrombophlebitis is the term used when a blood clot in the vein causes the inflammation. Thrombophlebitis usually occurs in leg veins, but it may occur in an arm. The thrombus (clot) in the vein causes pain and irritation and may block blood flow in the veins. Phlebitis can occur in both the surface (superficial) or deep veins.


Phelebitis can occur just by itself, but would be commonly caused by trauma (injury) to the vein.  Other causes include being inactive for  a long time, smoking and obesity.  


The will be a tender red area along the surface veins , a red line along the vein will then appear.  

The area may feel:

• Warm 

• Hard 

• Tender 

The skin around the area may feel:

• Itchy 

• Swollen 

• the area may begin to throb or burn

• Symptoms may  feel worse when the leg is lowered, especially when first getting out of bed in the morning

• A moderate fever may occur

• Sometimes phlebitis may occur at the site where a peripheral intravenous (IV) line was started. The surrounding area may be sore and tender along the vein

• If an infection is present, symptoms may include redness, fever, pain, swelling, or breakdown of the skin


Superficial thrombophlebitis is generally treated with periods of rest with the leg elevated, non-steroidal anti-flammatory drugs and if needed, antibiotics. Warm compresses may ease the inflammation, and elastic stockings or bandages may be recommended to reduce the swelling.

Deep thrombophlebitis is usually treated with anticoagulant drugs to reduce the formation of clots and to let the clots that have already formed dissolve. Bed rest with the leg elevated may also be recommended.