Understanding Phlebitis

Phlebitis is a common health issue affecting the lower legs. It can be uncomfortable and, if untreated, dangerous. Do you know what phlebitis is and what causes it?

The pumping action of your heart circulates blood through your body via a complex, miles-long system of blood vessels. Arteries bring blood cells from the heart to the organs and extremities and, after your body has used the oxygen they carry, veins return them to the heart, where the process begins again. Of course, this process if most challenging in the parts of your body that are farthest from your heart, where circulation must fight gravity with each heartbeat. One-way valves that keep blood moving in its intended direction facilitate the process.

Sometimes those valves fail, and it becomes difficult for the blood to return to the heart from the legs and feet. Blood can seep out into the surrounding tissue. Clots can form. This is phlebitis. Symptoms of phlebitis include:

These blood clots can break free and move through the bloodstream to the heart and lungs, creating a life-threatening pulmonary embolism. Patients with phlebitis need to be especially vigilant for symptoms such as shortness of breath or labored breathing and get medical attention immediately if they occur.

When this happens, the leg becomes swollen and inflamed. If some of these clots break off and return to the heart, they can travel to the lungs and cause difficulty breathing, shortness of breath, bloody sputum, and even death.

With years of specialized training and experience, your board-certified podiatrist is an expert in treating phlebitis and all other injuries and illnesses related to your feet, ankles, and lower legs. If you are worried about phlebitis, or if you have any other concern about the health and well-being of this part of your body, schedule an appointment with Stavros O. Alexopoulos, DPM in our comfortable Chicago office today. Call the friendly My Chicago Foot Expert staff at (773) 561-8100 or click here today.

Author
Stavros Alexopoulos One of Chicago’s top podiatrists, Stavros Alexopoulos, DPM, treats routine to complex foot and ankle issues. Dr. Alexopoulos is currently accepting new patients at My Chicago Foot Expert located near Ravenswood, North Park, and Jefferson Park.

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