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Signs & Symptoms of Blood Clots in the Calf

Updated February 21, 2017

Blood clots indicate a very serious medical condition that should prompt you to immediately seek medical attention. A blood clot in the leg or calf is also known as a deep vein thrombosis, and although it is not an uncommon medical condition, it can be life threatening. If left untreated, the blood clot can break away and travel throughout the body and damage the lungs, heart or other organs. The clot also has the potential to cause death. It is essential to know the symptoms of deep vein thrombosis so that you can be proactive about your health.

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The affected calf may swell and the swelling can radiate upward to the knee or upper leg or down to the ankle or foot.


If you've ever had a charley-horse, then you may recognise a similar cramping or radiating pain that can indicate a more serious medical condition. The pain or cramping may begin in your calf, and like the swelling, may radiate upward to the knee or thigh or down to the ankle and foot. Even if there isn't an overt pain, persistent calf tenderness can indicate the presence of a clot. Occasionally, the pain may only occur when you stand.


Symptoms of deep vein thrombosis can include discolouration or redness along the calf or the entire the leg. Your skin may also be warm to the touch over the affected area.

No Symptoms

Alarmingly, in more than half the cases of blood clots, there are no signs or symptoms to prompt concern. This means that you should be aware of the potential causes for deep vein thrombosis to see if you are at a high risk and you should regularly visit your doctor to maintain good health.

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About the Author

Kristie Brown

Kristie Brown is a publisher, writer and editor. She has contributed to magazines, textbooks and online publications. Brown holds a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Texas at Austin.

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