DVT or deep vein thrombosis

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DVT or deep vein thrombosis




The development of a blood clot in the deep veins in the calf area.  Known as ‘economy class syndrome’ due to it’s association with long distance travel. This can occur in association with calf injuries, infection, vascular diseases.  It is specifically due to a change in the blood vessels in the calf (they can become slightly damaged).  There is a build up of plaques inside the vessel which alter the way the blood flows (slows it down).  This alteration in blood flow, and increased blood clotting, can make the plaque bigger further restricting normal blood flow in the local area (this leads to pain and swelling).  The main concern is if the clot becomes dislodged and travels (via the blood stream) to the lung  (a pulmonary embolism, or PE). This is a very serious condition and can be potentially life threatening if not diagnosed and treated quickly.





Can be symptom free for quite a while.

Constant calf pain.

Extremely tender to touch.

Increased temperature and swelling and redness over the calf.





Clinical questioning will highlight the likely history and onset of the problem, and will help to separate the symptoms from more ‘mechanical’ causes.  Questioning will also highlight predisposing risk factors (previous hospitalisation or surgery).


Clinical assessment including observation of the painful area and palpation (touching) should be all that is needed to suspect the problem.  If this is the case, it is very likely that you will be sent straight to hospital for the necessary medical assessment and management.  This will included medical tests known as Doppler scanning to highlight the presence of the blood clot more accurately.




Usual treatment is medically based.  Blood thinning medication will help to establish normal blood flow and reduce the risk of blood pressure moving the clot.  Medication will also aim to break the clot down over time, again helping to restore normal blood flow.


With the use of compression stockings (stoops blood from pooling in the calf area), the medication treatment is sometimes done whilst you are at home.  However, depending on your individual situation, other medical procedures may be needed, and these may require a period of hospitalisation.








Put an ‘X’ next to each health professional that most commonly deals with this injury.

i.e. tennis elbow would be Physio and Medic as injections are common, whereas for muscular LBP it would be Physio and not Medic as they would just refer them to a Physio.

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