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Deep Venous Thrombosis | Causes and Physiotherapy Treatment

Deep Venous Thrombosis : Definition

Deep Venous Thrombosis or DVT occurs when there is a clot in one of the large veins of the body, often in the legs which creates discomfort and pain while trying to engage that part of the body in daily activities. These blood clots can occur due to several reasons such as genetics, recovery from an injury, and the rate of clotting of blood. This is relatively dangerous as it can have serious implications, where the clots can break loose, enter the bloodstream, and cause serious health concerns. It can also result in severe pain in the region of the clotting such as the legs, which affects mobility and daily functioning. Here is a quick introduction to DVT, its causes, symptoms, and how to treat it.

Deep Venous Thrombosis Causes

DVT can occur due to several reasons, the most common being any condition that can increase your risk of having blood clots. This can be due to several reasons. If there is a genetic factor that results in the same, DVT can occur.

Limited blood flow to the veins due to lack of movements due to long periods of immobilization due to injuries and care can also be part of deep vein thrombosis causes and symptoms.

Autoimmune diseases, high bodyweight that causes stress on your body, varicose veins, and even in some cases, COVID 19 can be causes of it.

Some other reasons include the usage of tobacco products, poor lifestyle habits such as lack of movement, and sitting in one place for long periods of time, which can also increase the rate of having DVT.

Deep Venous Thrombosis Symptoms

DVT often occurs in the legs or arms, where most of the time the severity is negligible. However, acute cases of Deep Venous Thrombosis Leg symptoms can be as following:

Swelling of the arm or leg often occurs very suddenly. Tenderness in the arms and legs while engaging in physical activity can also be a symptom. Veins look larger than they are, reddishness on the skin, abdominal pain, and onset of short bursts of severe headache, and in extreme cases, seizures can also be symptoms of DNT.

Sudden injury to the veins and muscles can also cause the clotting of blood in the veins, which can result in DVT

It is important to keep an eye out for these symptoms as they can have serious consequences if ignored.

Deep Venous Thrombosis Diagnosis

Diagnosis for DVT is of different types. To begin with, a medical professional can ask you for physical symptoms such as swelling, discoloration of the skin, and veins being visible. Once this is ascertained, a series of tests are conducted to determine DVT.

D dimer blood test can be conducted to understand the levels of d dimer, a protein produced by blood clots. In most cases of DVT, the protein levels are high. This test can also bring out other factors such as pulmonary embolism, stroke, or infection in the bloodstream

Venography can be suggested rarely, where a dye is injected into the vein, and an x-ray tracks the levels and areas of clot if any.

Ultrasounds are non-invasive and are suggested before venography to understand the clot location and other concerns due to DVT. Magnetic resonance imaging or MRI can also be performed to accurately diagnose the area of DVT.

Deep Venous Thrombosis Treatment

A series of treatments are available for DVT. To begin with, simple lifestyle changes such as making sure to exercise during long periods of rest, flexing the legs and arms to improve blood circulation, and ensuring enough mobility to the legs and arms, can help reduce the cases of having DVT. For Deep Vein Thrombosis treatment, walking regularly is also recommended.

Other treatments include medical interventions such as blood thinners, compression stockings, and vena cava filters, which all need to be done with medical supervision only.

Blood thinners or Anticoagulants make it hard for blood to clot. This means that the possibility of having clots will reduce in the body. You may be put on thinners for a short duration of time, or for longer, depending on your medical history. Since it involves a risk of bleeding, it is always advisable to consult a doctor and chart out a treatment plan.

Compression socks are simple tools that can help relieve the stress on the veins to a large extent. The elasticated socks apply gentle pressure on the tissues, which further helps in increasing the blood flow. The duration of wearing it may differ from person to person, depending on the medical condition and history.

Physiotherapy for Deep Venous Thrombosis

Most physiotherapy for DVT will revolve around easing blood flow and circulation. For that, the following activities can be engaged.

Compression therapy often involves using socks below the knee, which helps reduce swelling and improves circulation.

An intermittent Pneumatic Compression Device can be used to prevent clots. It uses cuffs around the legs and gently squeezes the legs, which increases blood flow in the legs.

Massage therapy helps improve the body stimuli in the tissues and veins, and the pressure can help increase circulation, help prevent clotting and reduce stress on the muscles.

Aerobic exercises such as walking, running, and hiking can also help strengthen the muscles and legs and improve blood circulation, reducing discomfort and swelling if done at the right levels of comfort.

A range of motion exercises such as foot pumps, where you stand on your feet, raise the toe thumb toward the body, and then raise the heels, helps increase blood flow and strengthen the feet.

Ankle circles can also help increase movement and circulation in the feet. Stretching of the legs, ankles, and feet can also help reduce pain, and swelling and increase blood flow.

Cautionary Advice

DVT can occur when there is not enough movement of the legs and arms, reduces circulation, and causes blood to clot

It can result in discomfort while walking and sitting

Clots can have larger complications such as pulmonary embolism, and signs of strokes and lead to serious health concerns

DVT can be treated with medical intervention and physiotherapy.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the warning signs of deep vein thrombosis?

Some common warning signs of DVT include- 

  • Throbbing pain or cramps in one leg (calf or thigh region)
  • Swelling in one leg 
  • Warm skin around the painful area
  • Darkened skin around the painful area
  • Swollen veins that feel hard and sore 

Is physiotherapy good for DVT?

Most definitely! Various physiotherapy techniques including compression therapy, massage therapy, aerobic exercises, and the use of pneumatic compression devices can help you effectively cope with DVT. 

How do you get rid of deep vein thrombosis?

Blood thinners or anticoagulants are prescribed to reduce clotting and inflammation in the lower extremities. Further, compression therapy, aerobic exercises, massage therapy, and the use of vena cava filters can reduce symptoms. 

Can a deep vein thrombosis go away on its own?

There is a possibility of DVT dissolving on its own, however, when ignored the symptoms may worsen leading to significant consequences. Hence, we highly recommend consulting a specialist and seeking treatment. 

What is the most common treatment of deep venous thrombosis?

Three common treatment options for DVT include- 

  • Blood thinners- Anticoagulants that prevent blood clots from getting bigger.
  • Vena cava filters- Placing a filter into the large vein to prevent clots from lodging into the lungs. 
  • Compression stockings- Knee socks prevent blood from pooling in the legs and reduce inflammation.
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