Blood clots in any part of the body can be dangerous, and a blood clot in the foot is no different. Many people who experience foot swelling, or edema, as well as pain or numbness will not recognize these symptoms of a blood clot. These symptoms and other signs of a problem often go unrecognized until after the blood clot has relocated to another part of the body and has become a life-threatening condition.
In most cases, individuals suffering from a blood clot in the foot will notice that the affected foot is swollen and discolored. Depending on whether the blood clot is blocking the flow of blood going into the foot or out of the foot, the coloration might be purple or red, respectively. The victim might also notice that the veins on the surface of his or her feet appear to be larger than normal. This appearance is commonly referred to as varicose veins.
At this point, the victim might develop numbness in the affected foot, because the blood circulation is effectively blocked by the blood clot. At the other end of the spectrum, the victim also might begin to experience intense pain — which has been described as either a throbbing, persistent ache or a shooting pain — when standing, walking or flexing the foot. This numbness or pain might extend into the leg because the blocked vein deprives the leg of a proper blood supply.
Early detection and resolution of a blood clot in the foot is vital. With proper medical response, clots are treatable, and most individuals who detect them early will make a full recovery. Using blood thinners, such as aspirin or prescription medications, along with special therapies and techniques, medical professionals can usually dissolve a blood clot before it creates a serious threat.
Without proper medical attention, a blood clot can easily relocate to the heart, causing a heart attack. It might also break loose and lodge itself in a vein feeding the brain, causing a stroke. Blood clots that are dislodged and arrive in the lungs have equally disastrous potential, because they can result in a pulmonary embolism. These possibly fatal conditions are why prompt response is necessary when dealing with discoloration of the feet, foot and leg pain, numbness or any of the other signs of a blood clot in the foot.