What Is the Hard Lump on the Varicose Vein?

Patients with varicose veins may notice a hard lump on a vein in addition to pain, cramps, and edema. Though excessive development can be concerning, there is no need to be worried. The lump on the leg isn't a severe medical condition, despite how uncomfortable it is. When a blood clot develops in a superficial leg vein, it is most likely phlebitis. 

So is the hard lump on the varicose vein dangerous? Usually, phlebitis (superficial thrombophlebitis) on the legs is not that serious. Typically, the blood clot dissolves, and the inflammation subsides within a few weeks. The vast majority of people with superficial thrombophlebitis are otherwise healthy. There is no unpleasant discharge or abscesses like a leg ulcer. 

The Hard Lump on The Varicose Vein - Phlebitis

Anyone with varicose veins is probably aware of the most typical symptoms: vein pain, a bulging vein on the legs and feet. In addition, weight and cramps in the limbs. However, the patient may not be aware of some other negative consequence of varicose veins: phlebitis. 

Phlebitis (pronounced "flee-bitis") is a vein inflammation. It usually affects the legs' superficial veins, which are damaged or have 'spider veins.' Unlike a venous leg ulcer, phlebitis is characterized by swollen lymph nodes on the affected vein that can cause leg pain. It's often mistaken for a skin illness.

A clot that forms in the superficial arm and leg veins is referred to as superficial thrombophlebitis or phlebitis. A firm lump surrounded by sensitive, red, and swelling skin is what characterizes phlebitis.

A variety of factors causes phlebitis, including painful varicose veins. Long periods of immobility (such as being confined to a hospital post-surgery or sitting throughout a long flight); contraception; pregnancy; a genetic blood clot issue; or a vein disease all raise the risks of phlebitis. 

While superficial phlebitis is rarely a life-threatening problem, a vein specialist should check it to rule out more severe varicose veins. The biggest issue with phlebitis is that it is a recurring condition with a likelihood of developing deep vein thrombosis(DVT).

If a blood clot moves from a superficial vein to a deeper vein, phlebitis can develop into superficial thrombophlebitis. If a superficial clot forms behind the knee, upper thigh, or groin, the odds of this occurrence increases. 

DVT (deep vein thrombosis) is a dangerous ailment that requires prompt medical intervention to stop the clot from breaking free and spreading to the lungs. A lung clot, also known as a pulmonary embolism, and untreated varicose veins can cause death. 

A pulmonary embolism has symptoms such as chest discomfort, disorientation, and a bloody cough. Superficial thrombophlebitis is a localized inflammation of a superficial vein (typically a varicose vein) that manifests as a painful, firm lump on the leg with redness around it.

It is necessary to make an accurate diagnosis. In these circumstances, a significant pathology, such as venous eczema or varicose eczema; that could progress and become severe, should not be disregarded.

Superficial phlebitis may heal on its own in 10-14 days, with only topical anti-inflammatory cream and ice packs. Deep vein thrombophlebitis requires instant examination and anticoagulation. While for cellulitis, antibiotics and accurate diagnosis are critical.

Causes of Hard Lump or Phlebitis

The term "phlebitis" refers to the inflammation of a vein. Because there is blood clotting or the vein wall is injured, the vein gets inflamed. A blood clot causes an inflamed vein at the skin surface, typically a varicose vein. This condition is known as superficial thrombophlebitis. 

An arm or leg swelling, the presence of an intravenous (IV) line, or an unknown reason can all induce superficial thrombophlebitis. 

Having similar risk factors apply to patients with deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and these include:

  • A hereditary (family) disorder that increases blood clots 
  • Some cancer treatments and cancer (chemotherapy)
  • Reduced blood flow due to surgery, accident, or zero movement
  • Long periods of inactivity resulting in a significant reduction in blood flow, such as;
  • Long periods spent sitting in a car, train, bus, truck, or airline.
  • Post-surgery or a traumatic injury
  • Pregnancy and the first six weeks following delivery
  • Having reached the age of 40 (though clots can develop regardless of age)
  • Obesity
  • Chronic venous insufficiency (venous reflux)
  • Using contraceptives or hormone therapy for any reason, including treatment of postmenopausal symptoms
  • A central venous catheter or a pacemaker implant

When To Seek Medical Help

If red, swollen, or twisted veins are becoming evident, see a doctor immediately, especially if one or more risk factors for superficial venous thrombosis are present.

  • The pain and discomfort in the enlarged vein or varicocele are excruciating.
  • Having breathing difficulty, chest pain, blood in the cough, or other symptoms that could indicate a blood clot in the lungs (pulmonary embolism)

If necessary, have anyone drive to the doctor or the emergency room. It's possible that driving will be difficult; it is better to have a company to assist in recalling the information would be beneficial.

The doctor may suggest a surgical varicose vein treatment if superficial thrombophlebitis is present. As the condition goes away, the combination of these problems can result in superficial thrombophlebitis. 

A vein surgery or endovenous treatment lessens this risk of varicose veins and prevents them from recurring. A vein specialist performs these treatments in either a hospital or an outpatient surgical clinic.

Surgical procedures include:

  • Vein ablation
  • Sclerotherapy
  • Radiofrequency ablation

Why Phlebitis Should Not Be Ignored

Superficial thrombophlebitis issues are uncommon. Nonetheless, when DVT develops, the risk of thrombophlebitis rises when:

  • pregnant or have recently given birth
  • over 60 years old
  • obese
  • frequent smoker
  • have cancer
  • suffered from superficial thrombophlebitis before
  • hereditary blood vessel clotting problem and abnormal vein

If one or more risk factors are present, seek medical advice about how to avoid them. These should not be ignored, especially when planning to take long flights, road journeys, and undergoing elective surgery that will require a lengthy stay in bed.

Learn more: When to Worry About Varicose Veins?

Get Professional Vein Care at Vein Center Doctor

Whether you have spider veins, varicose veins, or other types of vein issues -- Vein Center Doctor has various treatments available. Our team of medical and aesthetic experts has extensive experience providing non-surgical treatments to remove damaged veins and reduce superficial thrombophlebitis.

Consult a vein specialist at Vein Center Doctor to determine which venous treatment option is ideal for you. To schedule an appointment, go to our website or contact us today.

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