Phlebitis literally means ‘inflammation of a vein’.
The vein becomes inflamed because there is blood clotting inside it or the vein walls are damaged.
Superficial thrombophlebitis is the term for an inflamed vein near the surface of the skin (usually a varicose vein) caused by a blood clot.
Superficial thrombophlebitis results in painful, hard lumps underneath the skin and redness of the overlying skin.
This is usually on the lower leg, although it can occasionally affect surface veins in the arms or breast.
Superficial thrombophlebitis is typically more annoying than serious.
Usually, the blood clot clears and the inflammation dies down within a few weeks.
Most people with superficial thrombophlebitis are otherwise well. There shouldn’t be any foul discharge or abscess, and it’s normally just lumps under the skin rather than swelling of the whole calf.