Deep vein thrombosis, often known as DVT, can be a life-threatening condition if not identified and treated early.
What is a Deep vein thrombosis?
A thrombus is a blood clot. Deep vein thrombosis occurs when there is a blood clot in one of the deep veins of the body. This can occur in the veins in the calf.
The calf muscle plays an important role in circulating the blood around the body by pumping venous blood back to the heart. If the calf muscle is unused for a long period of time there is a higher chance of the blood pooling inside the vein and the formation of a clot.
A blood clot is more common after sustaining a serious leg injury, where the leg may be unused for some time. Long distance travel can also cause the leg to be held in position for long periods without movement.
Other contributors to blood clotting include hormone replacement therapy, the contraceptive pill, pregnancy, being overweight, or suffering from clotting disorders.
One of the biggest concerns with deep vein thrombosis is the possibility of a pulmonary embolism. This occurs when a part of the clot breaks away. It can then flow through the blood stream, and lodge in the smaller blood vessels of the lungs. This scenario is extremely dangerous, and potentially fatal.
A deep vein thrombosis can be identified by unusual swelling, redness, warmth, or pain in the affected area. Usual locations for pain are in the calf muscle or in the back of the knee.
Deep vein thrombosis is often treated through medication to thin the blood or in some circumstances compression stockings. If you have any suspicions of a deep vein thrombosis it is recommended that you seek medical advice immediately from either your sports doctor or physiotherapist.