Signs and Symptoms of Deep Vein Thrombosis

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), symptoms of DVT only occur in about half of the people with this condition. Common DVT symptoms include:

  • swelling in your foot, ankle, or leg, usually on one side
  • cramping pain in your affected leg that usually begins in your calf
  • severe, unexplained pain in your foot and ankle
  • an area of skin that feels warmer than the skin in the surrounding areas
  • the skin over the affected area turning pale or reddish, or bluish color, depending on skin tone

People with an upper extremity DVT, or a blood clot in the arm, may not experience symptoms. If they do, common symptoms include:

  • neck pain
  • shoulder pain
  • swelling in the arm or hand
  • blue- or darker-tinted skin color
  • pain that moves from the arm to the forearm
  • weakness in the hand

If you develop symptoms of a pulmonary embolism (PE) — a life-threatening complication of deep vein thrombosis — seek emergency medical help. The warning signs and symptoms of a pulmonary embolism include:

  • Sudden shortness of breath
  • Chest pain or discomfort that worsens when you take a deep breath or when you cough
  • Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
  • Fainting
  • Rapid pulse
  • Rapid breathing
  • Coughing up blood

A pulmonary embolism can happen when a DVT clot has moved from the arm or leg into the lung. When an artery in the lung becomes blocked, it’s life threatening and requires emergency care.