Can You Check for DVT at Home?

how to check for DVT at home - women holding painful leg

People often ask how to check for DVT at home. The answer is unfortunately no you cannot check this at home.

But the more you know what to look for regarding this serious medical condition (including pulmonary embolism) the more you can seek the expert evaluation from a medical professional that can help you obtain a diagnosis of deep venous thrombosis.

Worried you have Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)?

Here are some symptoms to be aware of:

  1. Leg Swelling: If you notice sudden swelling or pain in one leg, especially in the calf or thigh, it could be a sign of deep vein thrombosis.
  2. Change in Skin Color: Keep an eye on your skin color. DVT can cause the skin around the clot to appear red or purple, depending on your natural skin tone.
  3. Warmth and Pain: A feeling of warmth in the affected leg, along with pain, cramping, or soreness, may indicate a clot. Additionally, be on the look out if you have charley horses.  Sudden shortness of breath, pain in the lungs or a painful area in your chest might indicate a pulmonary embolism.  In this case seek medical attention immediately.

Remember that DVT can sometimes occur without noticeable symptoms, so it’s essential to be vigilant. Seek medical evaluation promptly if you have any concerns about the possibility you might have a DVT.

What to consider about DVT while at home?

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) occur when blood clots form in the deep veins of your body, most commonly in the legs. Here are some steps to consider if you suspect a DVT:

Self-Evaluation: DVT can manifest as leg pain, warmth or skin discoloration. If you experience sudden or persistent swelling, seek further medical evaluation by an expert at an urgent care, emergency room or medical office.

Know Your Family History: If a family member a history of blood clots it increases your risk factors.

Seek Proper Medical Attention: Don’t ignore symptoms. Reach out to your primary care doctor if you’re concerned. If they are unavailable or you do not have a primary care doctor, seek care at an urgent care, emergency room.

Immediate Treatment: If you suspect a DVT, don’t delay seeking medical help. Early intervention is crucial. Left untreated, DVT can lead to serious complications, including pulmonary (lungs) embolism (PE), a life-threatening condition. If your primary care doctor’s office is closed (ie after hours) then you should consider going to an urgent care or emergency room.

Underlying Health Conditions: Certain underlying issue, such as cancer or clotting disorders, can increase DVT chances. Also, a history of bed rest for long periods, a recent injury or surgery is an important consideration you should discuss with your medical professional as you discuss your health history.

Remember, DVT symptoms are not something to take lightly. The key is: If you are asking “how to check for DVT at home” you might be better off seeking medical professional help as this diagnosis cannot be made at home.

How is DVT Diagnosed by Experts

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is a serious condition diagnosed through a combination of listening to your body symptoms, physical examination, imaging tests, and blood tests. If you have leg pain, your legs feel warm or changes in skin color, the healthcare provider will assess their risk level for a blood clot. Here are the diagnostic methods to examine for a blood clot in the legs to diagnose deep vein thrombosis:

Physical Exam: The provider checks for leg tenderness, and skin color changes. If there’s suspicion of DVT symptoms further tests are recommended. Historically the Homan’s Sign Test was used: The Homan’s sign test involves dorsiflexing the foot to check for calf pain. Now days the Homan’s test is not considered definitive.

D-dimer Test: This test measures a protein called D-dimer, which is produced when blood clots form. Elevated D-dimer levels are common in severe DVT cases and can help rule out pulmonary embolism (PE) in severe cases. This blood test is not helpful after surgery or trauma as it can be falsely elevated due to tissue trauma.

Duplex Ultrasound: This noninvasive test called duplex ultrasound uses sound waves to create images of your veins. A handheld device (transducer) is moved over the skin to visualize the leg veins and look for blood clot. This is the mainstay of diagnosis and is only available in emergency rooms, hospitals, some (but not all) urgent cares and some specialty offices like vascular surgery or vein specialist offices. It is helpful as they can narrow down on the painful area as well as look at all the major veins in the legs.

Venography: Although rarely done in the acute setting for diagnosis due to invasiveness, venography involves injecting dye into a large vein in the foot or ankle and leg. X-rays then create a clear picture of leg and foot veins. This is the mainstay of imaging for the clot busting therapy when interventions are done to open blockages of veins associated with some clots. In rare cases, it can be the only way to obtain the diagnosis.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) or CT scanning: Sometimes these are used to diagnose DVT in pelvic and abdominal veins. MRI provides detailed images without radiation exposure. An alternative is a CT scan, but this involves radiation. This is commonly used to diagnose PE of the lung.

Remember that certain unusual factors, such as wearing high boots that suddenly feel tight, being at higher risk with underlying conditions, or experiencing symptoms like stabbing pain in the legs or chest warrant prompt evaluation to test if you are developing dvt.

What Are the Treatment Options For DVT?

After a professional medical diagnosis, there are many effective treatments to help a blood clot. Here are the key approaches:

Blood Thinners (Anticoagulants):

These are the mainstay of blood clot treatment. These medications prevent blood clots from growing larger and reduce the risk of new clots forming. They can be taken orally or administered intravenously. Your health care provider will help you determine the best regimen for you to balance your need to stop the clot with any higher risk of bleeding from taking blood thinners for long periods.

Clot Busters (Thrombolytics):

For severe or life-threatening cases of blood clot or when other treatments aren’t effective, thrombolytic drugs can come into play. These potent medications break down existing clots. However, they carry a risk of serious bleeding and are reserved for critical situations. This is generally done at the hospital over several days.

It is a major procedure generally reserved for patients with deep vein blood clot that limits blood flow through the upper leg into the deep pelvic veins. A catheter is put into the affected leg blood vessels and the clot busters are put to work on the clot. One risk is excessive bleeding so the patient has to be monitored closely in the hospital.


If blood thinners are unsuitable for you, an inferior vena cava filter may be inserted into the large vein (inferior vena cava) in your abdomen. This filter prevents of a clot breaks free from reaching the lungs, where they can cause pulmonary embolism (PE).

Compression Stockings:

These specially designed compression stockings help prevent blood pooling in the legs. By applying gentle pressure, they reduce leg swelling and promote healthy venous circulation.

How to Reduce Your Risk of DVT

Stay Active:

Regular exercise is crucial. Activities like walking, swimming, and bicycling promote healthy blood flow and reduce the chances of blood clots forming in deep veins.

Maintain a Healthy Weight:

Excess weight increases the risk of DVT. Keep your weight within a healthy range to support overall vein health.

Avoid Prolonged Sitting:

Whether you’re on a long flight or a car trip, don’t stay still for extended periods. Get up and move every 2 hours to prevent blood from pooling in your legs.

Stay Hydrated:

Drink plenty of water and stay adequately hydrated.

Address Underlying Issues:

If you have medical conditions that predispose you to clotting, discuss them with your doctor. Conditions like cancer, clotting disorders, or hormone therapy can increase DVT risk.

Make An Appointment See a Doctor

If you are asking yourself how to check for DVT at home or how to treat DVT at home hopefully this has helped you understand you may need professional help at an urgent care or ER as you cannot do this at home yourself. If you are not in an emergent need for a diagnosis, making and appointment is easy to set up a non emergency clinic visit:  Simply fill out our Online Vein Screening Form or call any of our clinics in Northwest Portland , TigardHappy Valley, Tanasbourne or Bend, Oregon or Vancouver Washington.

Ready to Start your Vein Treatment Journey?

Request an appointment today to meet with leading vein experts at any of our clinics in:
NW Portland, Tigard, Happy Valley, Tanasbourne, Vancouver or Bend.


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