What Are the Treatments for a Blocked Vein Causing Swelling in the Ankle?

Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Neeta Lind

A blocked vein in the leg causes intense swelling and pain in the ankle, foot and leg. Fortunately, there are a variety of treatments for a blocked vein in the leg or ankle.


A blocked vein in the ankle is typically caused by deep vein thrombosis, which is a blood clot that forms inside the vein. Deep vein thrombosis is particularly common in the veins of the lower leg.


When a blood clot forms in the leg, it interrupts the flow of blood back to the heart. As the blood starts to collect, it causes significant swelling in the ankle and foot.

Blood Thinners

The first treatment for a blocked vein involves the use of an anticoagulant medication, such as heparin. The medication is administered via IV or injection and its goal is to thin the blood enough to break up the blood clot.


If the blood clot has been present for less than 48 hours, doctors may use thrombolytic drugs, which work to dissolve blood clots. However, according to Merck.com, this treatment is not effective on blood clots after 48 hours of formation.

Blood Clot Filter

If the blood clot cannot be dissolved or removed, doctors may surgically place a filter inside the inferior vena cava, the large vein between the legs and the heart. The goal of this filter is to collect any blood clots that become loose and move toward the heart or lungs.

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