Groin Blood Clot Symptoms: Identifying Warning Signs

Written By Center for Vein Restoration
Blog Image Groin Blood Clot Symptoms

Blood clots are serious medical conditions that can occur in various parts of the body. While often associated with deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in the lower leg and thigh, blood clots can also form in the groin area. They can develop for various reasons, including injury, surgery, or underlying health conditions. Recognizing the symptoms of a blood clot, specifically in the groin, is crucial for prompt diagnosis and treatment.

In this blog post, we'll explore the warning signs associated with groin blood clots, empowering you with the knowledge to identify them early and seek appropriate medical attention.

Understanding Groin Blood Clots

Understanding the function and anatomy of the femoral vein is crucial for seeking medical intervention if a clot occurs. To recognize a groin blood clot, one must first understand the anatomy of the leg, specifically as it relates to the femoral vein.

The femoral veins run along the inner sides of the legs, originating from the groin or pelvic region and descending through the thigh toward the knee. These veins return deoxygenated blood to the lungs for oxygenation. In contrast, the femoral artery supplies oxygenated blood to vessels in the pelvic area and lower extremities. Notably, femoral veins are relatively superficial to the skin compared to the artery and are not as deep.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, the femoral vein is part of the circulatory system. It collects deoxygenated blood from the legs and transports it to the heart via the external iliac vein. The femoral vein works together with other veins, such as the popliteal vein and tributaries, to ensure efficient blood flow.

Like other veins in the body, the femoral vein contains valves that help prevent blood backflow and ensure unidirectional flow toward the heart. These valves are critical in the upright position, where gravity can significantly affect blood flow.

What is femoral vein thrombosis?

A blood clot that forms in the femoral vein is called femoral vein thrombosis (“thrombosis” refers to a blood clot in a blood vessel that limits blood flow). Per Medical News Today, a femoral vein thrombosis (blood clot in the femoral vein) can be life-threatening without early intervention. This is because the blood clot can break loose and lodge in the heart, preventing the heart muscle from getting enough blood and oxygen. Complications of this include pulmonary embolism (PE) and ischemic heart disease.

The American Heart Association cautions that many people experience “silent ischemic” episodes as a result of this blood restriction, meaning a heart attack with no warning.

This is to say that recognizing a blood clot in the groin can save your heart—and possibly your life.

What are the signs and symptoms of a blood clot in the groin?

A blood clot in the groin (femoral vein thrombosis) can present with various signs and symptoms. Consult a healthcare professional promptly if you experience any of the following symptoms, especially if symptoms worsen or multiple complications arise:

  • Swelling, warmth, and tenderness in the groin area
  • Pain or discomfort
  • Reddened or discolored skin over the affected area
  • Heaviness or a sensation of fullness in the groin region
  • Restricted movement or difficulty walking

Potential symptoms extending beyond the groin include:

  • Sudden shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Coughing up blood

Ongoing vigilance and quick action are essential in managing and preventing complications, especially if an individual has risk factors associated with blood clots in the groin.

If you suspect DVT, prompt medical attention is essential. CVR offers a DVT rule-out service for same-day or next-day diagnosis and treatment plan options. Our hotline number is 877-SCAN-DVT.

What are the risk factors for developing a groin blood clot?

Various conditions outside one's control and lifestyle factors that individuals can control are risk factors for developing a blood clot in the groin.

Per the American Blood Clot Association, risk factors for developing a blood clot in the groin include:

  • Sedentary lifestyle or immobility
  • Extended bed rest due to a medical condition
  • Pre-existing blood clotting disorder
  • Some types of cancer
  • Personal or family history of deep vein thrombosis
  • Age over 60
  • Prolonged immobility
  • Family history of blood clots
  • Fractures in the pelvis or legs
  • Pregnancy
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Certain autoimmune disorders
  • Taking estrogen or birth control pills

Understanding these risk factors is crucial for recognizing the potential for developing a blood clot in the groin and taking appropriate measures to prevent complications. If any of these risk factors are present, it is important to monitor symptoms and seek medical attention promptly if any concerning signs appear.

What are the treatment options for a groin blood clot?

Per Healthline, treatment options for a blood clot in the groin, particularly femoral vein thrombosis, focus on managing the clot and preventing further complications. Anticoagulation therapy is a primary treatment approach involving medications to thin the blood and reduce the risk of future clot formation.

In cases where individuals cannot take blood thinners, an inferior vena cava filter (IVCF) may be inserted into a vein during a short surgery. This device catches a blood clot before it can migrate toward the heart and lungs and is removed once the risk of blood clot has passed.

Additionally, certain types of exercise may be recommended to promote circulation and prevent clot formation. In some cases, surgical thrombectomy, in which the clot is surgically removed from the vein or artery, is another treatment option that may be considered.

What’s the difference between femoral vein thrombosis and deep vein thrombosis (DVT)?

Femoral vein thrombosis is a specific type of deep vein thrombosis that occurs in the femoral vein of the thigh. While there are some differences in location and potential symptoms, the underlying mechanisms, risk factors, and treatment approaches for both conditions are largely similar.

However, there are differences between the two, including:


    • Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT): DVT typically occurs in the deep veins of the legs, such as the popliteal vein, femoral vein, and iliac vein. It can also happen in deep veins elsewhere in the body, such as the arms or pelvis.
    • Femoral Vein Thrombosis: This specifically refers to forming a blood clot in the femoral vein, a major blood vessel in the thigh. It's a type of DVT that specifically affects the femoral vein.


    • Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT): Symptoms of DVT may include swelling, pain, warmth, and redness in the affected leg. However, not everyone with DVT experiences symptoms.
    • Femoral Vein Thrombosis: As a type of DVT, it has symptoms similar to those of DVT. However, if the clot is located specifically in the femoral vein, symptoms may be more localized to the thigh area.


Risk Factors:

    • Risk factors for both conditions include prolonged immobility (such as during long flights or bed rest), surgery, trauma, obesity, smoking, hormonal birth control, pregnancy, cancer, and certain genetic conditions that increase blood clotting risk.

Diagnosis and Treatment:

    • Diagnosis for both conditions typically involves imaging tests such as ultrasound or venography. Treatment often includes blood thinners (anticoagulants) to prevent the clot from growing and reduce the risk of complications. In some cases, more aggressive treatments, such as thrombolytic therapy or surgical intervention, may be necessary.

Center for Vein Restoration (CVR) offers a same-day DVT-rule-out service. If needed, CVR can provide anticoagulation treatment, education, and follow-up. Our hotline is 877-SCAN-DVT (866-969-3470).

What should you do if you suspect a blood clot?

If you suspect you have either femoral vein thrombosis or deep vein thrombosis, it's crucial to seek medical attention promptly. Blood clots can lead to serious complications, including pulmonary embolism, which can be life-threatening.

Center for Vein Restoration offers a safe and effective alternative to the emergency room. Patients can “skip the line” at the ER and receive:

  • Same-day evaluation and diagnosis of possible deep vein thrombosis
  • Notification of results on the same day
  • Immediate start of anticoagulation medication (if indicated)
  • Long-term follow-up care until anticoagulation medicine can be stopped

For Center for Restoration DVT rule-out service, call 877-SCAN-DVT (877-722-6388).

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