A phlebitis in the popliteal fossa is triggered by an inflammatory reaction of the body. This may be due to various underlying diseases that damage the vessel walls and thus cause inflammation. The affected area is usually swollen and red. Pain is another accompanying symptom.
A phlebitis can be divided into two classes: An acute phlebitis affects the superficial veins, whereas a chronic phlebitis damages the lower lying veins. The course and the therapy differ accordingly.
The causes of a phlebitis in the popliteal fossa can be extremely diverse.
An acute phlebitis affects the superficial veins. The most common cause of this is thrombosis. A thrombosis is a blood clot that leads to blockage of the vessel. The blood can not drain away in this area and accumulates. The body tries to eliminate the thrombosis as a backlash. A strong inflammatory reaction is produced, which can lead to swelling, redness and pain. Another cause is a traumatic injury that damages the veins, causing an inflammatory response.
A chronic inflammation of the veins in the region of the popliteal fossa is usually caused by a chronic venous insufficiency. In this case, the function of the veins is impaired and the blood can no longer be transported to the heart and accumulates. Over time, the vessels widen and are damaged. This damage in turn leads to inflammation and the insufficiency increasingly worsens. Such chronic venous insufficiency may be triggered by varicose veins or poor venous valve function. In addition, a heart failure can lead to a congestion. The heart is no longer able to pump enough blood into the systemic circulation. This blood builds up in front of the heart and sinks into the legs. Here, too, the vessels dilate and become irritated.
Furthermore, autoimmune diseases can lead to inflammation of vessels. In this case, the immune system recognizes the cells on the vessels as foreign and fights them. This form of autoimmune diseases is called vasculitis. They generally target vessels and destroy both veins and arteries.
In a phlebitis, the classic signs of inflammation, such as swelling, redness, overheating, pain and a limited function in the affected area.
In an inflammatory reaction various messengers are released. These messenger substances lead to an expansion of the vessels. As a result, more liquid can escape from the vessels and this area swells. However, one has to keep in mind that this area was already swollen by the jammed blood. In addition, the inflamed area is supplied with more blood, which explains the redness and overheating.
Pain is the main symptom of the patients. He already appears in peace and can aggravate under stress. Due to the pain and the other accompanying symptoms, the function of the knee joint is severely limited and the patients are reluctant to walk.
The most dreaded complication of phlebitis is the so-called open leg. This is an ulcer (ulcus cruris) described, which can no longer heal properly by the congestion and oxygen deficiency of the tissue. However, before this stage is reached, the inflammation manifests itself through the symptoms described above, which should be taken seriously.
Pain is the main symptom of phlebitis. The pain is often described as burning or stinging. They can be present at rest and aggravate when stressed.
The inflammatory reaction releases messengers that sensitize the nerve endings. Stimuli that were previously considered uncomfortable are now painful.
The treatment depends on the underlying disease and is designed accordingly different.
The acute phlebitis, which was caused by a thrombosis, usually heals by itself again. Supportive anticoagulant drugs can be used to prevent the emergence of a new thrombosis. If the thrombosis is in large vessels, you should think about thrombolysis (dissolution of the thrombus). In case of an inflammation caused by an injury, one can wait and if necessary administer anti-inflammatory drugs.
The treatment of chronic phlebitis, however, is quite complex. The problem here is not the inflammatory reaction but the poor circulation. As a result of the congestion, the veins are increasingly strained and can no longer fulfill their function. Consequently, less blood flows in this area and is undersupplied with oxygen. A therapy option is the wearing of compression stockings. These exert pressure on the tissue and reduce the congestion. Another option is lymph drainage. This activates the lymphatic system and removes the fluid that is in the tissue. The swelling is reduced.
In addition, patients should exercise regularly to improve circulation in the legs and popliteal fossa.
An autoimmune disease is treated with drugs that inhibit the immune system. As a result, fewer of the body's own cells are attacked and the inflammatory response is milder. Medications that are commonly used are cortisone or immunosuppressants. Another therapy option is antibody therapy. Here, the antibodies can very specifically intervene in the immune system and dampen the function of the immune cells.
The use of home remedies can relieve existing symptoms. In particular, pain can be relieved by a local cold therapy. For this you can use cooling pads or Quark wrap. For a quark roll, chilled quark should be evenly applied to a cloth or paper towel. Then you can put it on the affected area. In addition to the cooling effect Quark also has an anti-inflammatory effect and can reduce redness, swelling and overheating.
Furthermore, one can take Rosskastanienextrakt, red vine leaves or butcher's broom as a natural remedy. They also have an anti-inflammatory effect and reduce the feeling of heaviness in the legs
Inflammation of the superficial veins is usually acute and usually heals after a few days. However, the inflammation can also pass to the lower-lying veins. That's why you should watch the disease well and visit the doctor in case of deterioration.
The inflammation of the deep-lying veins is usually chronic. Full recovery is difficult in this case. However, one can stop the progression of the disease.
An autoimmune disease often persists throughout life. Since the exact origin of the disease is not understood, there is no therapy that leads to a cure. The symptoms can be alleviated by some medications.