How likely is it that the swelling in only one ankle, but nowhere else in the leg, is being caused by a deep vein thrombosis?

A DVT typically causes swelling up and down the lower leg and may include the ankle.

But is it possible for this kind of blood clot to swell up ONLY the ankle?

Can a deep vein thrombosis cause swelling only in a person’s ankle?

“That would be unusual, unless the very distal tibial veins are thrombosed, in which case it would not be of great significance, again because these emboli would be very tiny,” explains Seyed-Mojtaba Gashti, MD, a board certified vascular surgeon with Broward Health Medical Center in Florida.

The distal tibial veins are the veins in the front or anterior of the lower leg where the tibia bone is.

The tibia is the larger of the two lower leg bones. Distal means distant from the center of the body, so in this case, the location would be near the ankle.

Thus, if a DVT forms near the front of the lower leg near the ankle, the clots would be, as Dr. Gashti says, “very tiny,” and thus not potent enough to cause swelling going up the leg, but rather, more likely confining it to only the ankle.

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Warning Signs of a DVT Other than Swelling

• One area of the leg is much warmer than the other.

• Area of suspicion is unusually tender to the touch.

• There is pain, even at rest, in the calf or behind the knee. The pain may feel like a strong soreness or a cramp.

• The area is noticeably reddish.

• You very recently had joint replacement or abdominal surgery.

• You’ve recently had excessive bed rest.

• You’ve recently been on a long airplane flight.

Dr. Gashti specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of vascular disease including abdominal and aortic aneurysm.
Lorra Garrick has been covering medical, fitness and cybersecurity topics for many years, having written thousands of articles for print magazines and websites, including as a ghostwriter. She’s also a former ACE-certified personal trainer.  



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