Medically Reviewed by: Clint McCullough, ATC, OTC
Deep vein thrombosis, often referred to as “DVT” is a blood clot that forms in one or several of the deep veins in your body, typically in the lower extremities. Deep vein thrombosis can cause pain and swelling in the legs, but can also occur without any symptoms. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) only about 50% of people who suffer from DVT are symptomatic. Deep vein thrombosis can be serious medical concern because the blood clot in your veins can break loose and travel to your lungs causing a pulmonary embolism (PE).
It is important to know the warning signs of DVT, as it is a common condition. While some people aren’t always symptomatic, some common symptoms include:
It is important to note that these symptoms can be common after lower extremity surgery without the presence of a DVT.
If you are concerned you have a blood clot, seek medical attention immediately. The chances of a DVT in an otherwise healthy person is very low (1%), but if there is a concern getting tested is never a bad idea.
DVT can be diagnosed with a simple Deep Vein Thrombosis test that is a doppler ultrasound. The test is fast, inexpensive, and results are quickly available.
The cause of a blood clot is anything that prevents the blood from circulating and clotting normally. There are many factors that can increase likelihood of developing a blood clot, and some Deep Vein Thrombosis risk factors include:
If you have questions or concerns on your risks of developing a DVT, please consult with your primary care physician.
It’s possible to develop a blood clot without any risk factors, surgery, or injury, however, incorporating these activities into your everyday routine can help!
If you just had surgery, its normal for your knee and lower leg to be sore and to have increased swelling (edema). It’s part of the injury response process. You will likely be placed on a prophylactic blood thinner, like Aspirin, after surgery. Here are a few other tips than can help prevent a DVT after surgery:
Elevate your leg
Keeping your leg elevated above the level of your heart lowers the pressure in local blood vessels and helps control bleeding. It increases drainage of swelling through lymph vessels, and uses gravity to facilitate circulation back to the heart.
Using the Edema Reduction Leg Elevator (ERLE) from MyComfortMD comfortably elevates the lower extremities above the level of the heart and helps reduce swelling.
Simultaneous Leg Elevation
Elevating both legs at the same time can reduce swelling of both legs and improve blood circulation, which helps prevent a bilateral DVT. Positioning both of your legs above your heart at the proper angle is important for effective edema reduction.
Using the MyComfortMD ERLE Twin is a great solution for double leg elevation after surgery and for preventing and treating DVT.