Superficial Vein Thrombophlebitis

About Superficial Vein Thrombophlebitis

This condition is a vein inflammation caused by a blood clot located just below the skin’s surface. The clot causes pain, irritation, and may hinder blood flow. This condition is generally caused by an injury to the vein and appears in veins where blood flows slower than normal – such as varicose veins. Treatment options include anti-inflammatory medication and warm compresses.

Superficial Vein Thrombophlebitis


  • Redness and inflammation of the skin
  • Pain and tenderness
  • Hard, rubbery veins
  • Limb
  • Darkening of the skin


Increased risk in patients with varicose veins.

  • Inactivity
  • Recent surgery
  • Recent IV or catheter
  • Pregnancy
  • Clotting disorders
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Oral contraceptives
  • Infection


The diagnosis is done by a combination of a focused medical history/physical exam and medical imaging. Usually, an in-office ultrasound is quickly done and can diagnose the problem.

Treatment Options

  • Warm compresses
  • Compression stockings
  • NSAIDs such as ibuprofen
  • Treatment of remaining varicose veins to help prevent further thrombophlebitis.
  • Anticoagulation (blood thinner medicine) is not usually indicated for thrombophlebitis.