Superﬁcial phlebitis (also called phlebitis or thrombophlebitis) is inﬂammation and thrombus (blood clot) formation in a superﬁcial vein. This condition can affect any vein in the body but usually affects the leg veins. Phlebitis can occur after minor injury to a vein or as a complication of varicose veins. Although phlebitis occurs in people with varicose veins, most people with varicose veins do not develop phlebitis.
Symptoms include redness, swelling, and tenderness in the affected area. Some people may experience fever and a vague feeling of being ill. Deep vein thrombosis (see page 236) is a possible, though uncommon, complication.
Superﬁcial phlebitis usually is treated by gently wrapping the leg with a com- pression bandage and by taking a nonsteroidal anti-inﬂammatory drug such as ibuprofen. The blood clot usually dissolves on its own. The affected area may remain tender for several weeks. In severe cases the doctor may inject a local anesthetic, make a small cut in the leg, and remove the thrombus. He or she will recommend wearing a compression bandage for several days and taking aspirin or ibuprofen to relieve pain and inﬂammation.
Blood disorders may occur when production of red blood cells cannot keep up with demand, when the composition of the blood changes, or when a disease affects the condition of the blood or blood vessels.