What Are the Treatments for a Blocked Vein Causing Swelling in the Ankle?

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A blocked vein in the leg causes intense swelling and pain in the ankle, foot and leg. Fortunately, there are a variety of treatments for a blocked vein in the leg or ankle.

Swelling in the ankle is caused by deep vein thrombosis.
Swelling in the ankle is caused by deep vein thrombosis.

Identification

A blocked vein in the ankle is typically caused by deep vein thrombosis, which is a blood clot that forms inside the vein. Deep vein thrombosis is particularly common in the veins of the lower leg.

A 3D close up of a vein thrombosis
A 3D close up of a vein thrombosis (Image: somersault18:24/iStock/Getty Images)

Effects

When a blood clot forms in the leg, it interrupts the flow of blood back to the heart. As the blood starts to collect, it causes significant swelling in the ankle and foot.

Close up of severely swollen feet
Close up of severely swollen feet (Image: mermaidb/iStock/Getty Images)

Blood Thinners

The first treatment for a blocked vein involves the use of an anticoagulant medication, such as heparin. The medication is administered via IV or injection and its goal is to thin the blood enough to break up the blood clot.

One possible treatment is an anticoagulant medication, such as heparin
One possible treatment is an anticoagulant medication, such as heparin (Image: Thomas Northcut/Digital Vision/Getty Images)

Thrombolytics

If the blood clot has been present for less than 48 hours, doctors may use thrombolytic drugs, which work to dissolve blood clots. However, according to Merck.com, this treatment is not effective on blood clots after 48 hours of formation.

Consult your doctor if your clot has been present for more than 48 hours
Consult your doctor if your clot has been present for more than 48 hours (Image: Alexander Raths/iStock/Getty Images)

Blood Clot Filter

If the blood clot cannot be dissolved or removed, doctors may surgically place a filter inside the inferior vena cava, the large vein between the legs and the heart. The goal of this filter is to collect any blood clots that become loose and move toward the heart or lungs.

If the blood clot cannot be dissolved or removed, doctors may surgically place a filter inside the large vein between the legs and the heart
If the blood clot cannot be dissolved or removed, doctors may surgically place a filter inside the large vein between the legs and the heart (Image: Keith Brofsky/Photodisc/Getty Images)

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