Deep vein thrombosis - Symptoms 

Symptoms of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) 

In some cases of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) there may be no symptoms, but possible symptoms can include:

  • pain, swelling and tenderness in one of your legs (usually your calf)
  • a heavy ache in the affected area
  • warm skin in the area of the clot
  • redness of your skin, particularly at the back of your leg below the knee

DVT usually affects one leg, but this is not always the case. The pain may be made worse by bending your foot upward towards your knee.

If DVT is not treated, a pulmonary embolism (a blood clot that has come away from its original site and become lodged in one of your lungs) may occur. 

If you have a pulmonary embolism, you may experience more serious symptoms, such as:

  • breathlessness, which may come on gradually or suddenly
  • chest pain, which may become worse when you breathe in
  • collapsing suddenly 

Both DVT and pulmonary embolism are serious conditions that require urgent investigation and treatment.

Read more about complications of deep vein thrombosis.

Page last reviewed: 03/06/2014

Next review due: 03/06/2016


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The 5 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

alihorny said on 07 August 2014

my husband started with breathlessness a month or so ago which his GP said was probably an infection which would get better - they had also messed around with his blood pressure tablets at this time which could also have attributed to this. However, within a matter of days it became more extreme. His GP diagnosed a chest infection and gave him steroids and antibiotics. 4 days later he was in intensive care with pneumonia and blood clots on his lungs.
After receiving excellent care in ITU with a follow up of 8 days in a ward on Warfarin and injections of antibiotics he was discharged from hospital.
He's been home just over a week now and has been suffering with a pain in his left leg - back to his GP who's diagnosed an infection and given more antibiotics. 1 week later a further GP has now diagnosed DVT and he's having to use support stockings for the next 6 months. Good job he's taking Warfarin otherwise he could have been back at ITU with further blood clots.
It's a chore getting into see our GP so to then have them diagnose him incorrectly TWICE is astonishing.
He's only 55 and normally quite a fit bloke so this has really set him back.
The silver lining though is that he no longer has high blood pressure so doesn't take any medication for this.

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pompeypete said on 25 March 2014

Had pain and swelling in back of calf below the knee. My wife said to check out online on NHS Choices in case it was deep vein thrombosis. The symptoms quoted were almost exactly what I was suffering.
The website said get urgent medical advice so I phoned my GP. I couldn't be seen that day so I went directly to A&E at my local hospital. A simple blood test showed a clot in the surface vein. Further investigation concluded that I had a thrombosis in the vein that reached up into the groin - and was close to the junction with the deep vein.
I was immediately started on a course of injections (in the stomach) and daily doses of warfarin. I am still taking these tablets/injections and the clot is being dispersed.
I was very lucky that my wife suggested what it could be - and NHS Choices confirmed her suggestion. I am very grateful for the warning given by NHS Choices - as I had been in pain for three days and it could have been fatal....

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freedomlass said on 04 December 2013

I visited my dr a couple of yesterday with swelling and pain in my right lower leg, I have had swelling for some time but the pain which was waking me in the night only for a few days, he suspected dvt and sent me for an ultrasound and bloods today, it was a simple procedure to go through and the results were immediate, luckily for me it was negative although now I need to revisit my dr to see what else may be causing my problem, but at the end of the day if you are concerned then do get it checked out, it's quick & easy and if the results shows you do have dvt then at least it can be dealt with swiftly, never leave it for another day, that day may not come.

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Algreaves1987 said on 15 November 2012

Dear Martindolan,

Please go and see a GP, if you don't want to see your GP go into a walk in clinic. It sounds very serious :(


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martindolan said on 13 November 2012

I have had 3 heart attacks and a stroke,had 4 stents

3 successful/1 not

I smoke and suffer with hypertension,have lost

all the hair on top of right thigh,and skin is shiny

my right leg hurts like hell,I have a little endema

in both feet,I found this helpful because am suffering

a lot of chest pain,and sudden and gradual breathlessness

but am still scared to see my doctor,

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'I got DVT from flying'

Mark Pownall developed deep vein thrombosis (DVT) on a long-haul flight from New Orleans to London