ZocdocAnswersCould these be warning signs of a blood clot?

Question

Could these be warning signs of a blood clot?

A few days ago I woke up from a nap with a deep ache behind the back of my left knee that traveled down my calf. It felt similar to the remnants of a charley horse but I didn't recall having one recently. The ache was more pronounced when I stood up/walked around, but by the next day the pain was gone. Although I no longer have any pain, the veins in my left leg spasm and I feel random spurts of soreness/pain in my calf/thigh every once in a while along with rapid pulsations of different veins. I've also had a low grade fever (99.3 on average) for the last few days that I've checked. After searching around the internet, I fear that I may have a blood clot in my leg, as I spend hours at a time seated doing my homework/art projects (on average 3 hours without getting up a night) and I haven't had any time to exercise in the past month due to my tight schedule. I'm only 18 years old and I don't know if I just being stressed and paranoid or if this is really worth a doctor's visit.

Answer

Thank you for your question regarding blood clots, also known as deep vein thrombosis. It is difficult to say what is causing your calf and thigh pain without being able to examine your leg and ask you questions about your medical history. Therefore, I would encourage you to visit your primary care physician who can perform a thorough physical examination and who would be more intimately familiar with your medical health. For example, there are several things that would make a blood clot more or less likely. The fact that you are young makes having a blood clot less likely. However, this is assuming that you are completely healthy. Usually, doctors suspect blood clots in the legs of older patients, especially if they have recently had surgery and/or are immobilized for a long period of time. Younger patients are less likely to have blood clots but there are several exceptions. These include risk factors such as young patients who are taking oral contraceptives, smoke, are pregnant, have cancer, or one of a number of genetic conditions which predisposes a person to clotting. There are also signs on physical exam that can be suggestive of a blood clot in the legs, such as swelling, tenderness, or redness of the affected limb. However, there are other possibilities for the symptoms you list as well, such as musculoskeletal injury and skin infection. Therefore, I suggest you visit your doctor who can better determine the cause of your symptoms.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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