Deep Vein Thrombosis
Deep Vein Thrombosis or DVT is a blood clot in a vein. It is most common in the calf muscle area, particularly following surgery and long-haul flights. It is very important this is not misdiagnosed as a calf strain.
Deep Vein Thrombosis symptoms consist of a constant pain usually in the calf muscle at the back of the leg. Tenderness may be felt at a point deep in the muscle. There may be swelling at the back of the leg and the skin temperature may seem hot to touch. Sometimes a red area is visible on the skin. Pain may be reproduced when passively stretching the calf muscle.
Deep vein thrombosis explained
Deep Vein Thrombosis is a blood clot in a vein. It is most common in the calf muscle area, particularly following surgery and long-haul flights where the patient has been sitting still for long periods along with a change in air pressure.
DVT is relatively common, especially in overweight people, those over the age of 50 or those who have poor circulation. It is not something to be expected in a young fit athlete, however the condition is potentially fatal as if the clot comes loose it can work it's way up to the heart, lungs or brain, potentially causing a heart attack, pulmonary embolism or stroke.
If a massage therapist misses this or mis-diagnoses a DVT as a calf strain and applies deep tissue massage to the area then this could work the clot free and cause serious harm or worse.
What should the athlete do?
If a DVT is suspected then medical attention should be sought immediately. See a doctor who can give a professional opinion and refer for further investigations. A scan will confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment for a DVD
Treatment of DVT usually involves daily injections of an anti-coagulant known as Heparin for up to a week. This is followed by a second anti-coagulant medication called Warfarin, taken in a pill form, on a daily basis for up to 6 months. During this time regular blood tests should be taken to ensure that the patient is on the right dose.
Too much Warfarin increases the risk of bleeding and too little increases the risk of the clot growing. Important! - Warfarin should not be used in patients who are pregnant as it can cause birth defects.