Deep Vein Thrombosis

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) can occur almost anywhere in the body, but is very common in the legs.  DVT occurs when a blood clot forms in a vein somewhere in the body. In general people who are forced to sit still for extended periods of time, like while riding in a plane or a long road trip in a car, have a high risk of being affected by deep vein thrombosis. While this condition is usually very painful, it carries with it a very serious risk of death. While rare, but not unheard of, the blood clot may break loose and move to the lungs where it blocks the blood flow and creates a pulmonary embolism like the one that killed the journalist David Bloom early in the second Iraq War.

Symptoms of Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)?

Deep vein thrombosis carries with it a few specific symptoms. Typically the patent will see some swelling in the leg, especially near the foot and ankle. The skin may start to change color in the leg, potentially turning either red, blue, or turning completely pale. The skin may start to feel warm to the touch, especially in the swollen areas. The most usual complaint with DVT is severe pain in the calf, ankle, or foot. Typically the pain begins as a cramping or charley horse in the lower leg. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms it is important to make an appointment with an orthopedic doctor right away.

Risk Factors

There are many potential risk factors for deep vein thrombosis. Some of the more common risk factors are:

  • Extended periods of sitting
  • Recent surgery or injury
  • Pregnancy
  • Smoking
  • Taking birth control or hormone replacement
  • A history of heart attacks
  • Age over 60 years old
  • Men who are very tall

Deep Vein Thrombosis Treatment and Prevention

The treatments of deep vein thrombosis are usually designed to prevent the blood clot from increasing in size, stopping the clot from becoming dislodged, and minimizing the chances of another DVT from occurring. An orthopedic doctor may choose to use compression stockings to prevent the swelling, blood thinners to reduce the bloods ability to clot, and clot-busters that are designed to break clots up into small pieces. In some cases a physician may suggest inserting a filter into a vein in the stomach that stops any dislodged blood clots from traveling to the lungs. If you are experiencing the symptoms of deep vein thrombosis it is important to immediately make an appointment with an orthopedic physician, like the ones at IBJI. The physicians at the Illinois Bone and Joint Institute have years of experience treating DVT. They are your best choice for treating deep vein thrombosis and avoiding its life threatening effects.

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