Muscle Tears and DVT

Muscle Tears and DVTDeep vein thrombosis is the development of blood clots deep in the veins, most frequently in the legs. In Atlanta, deep vein thrombosis or DVT is something usually discussed as the result of sedentary behaviors, but your risk of developing DVT isn’t always so limited.

The most common risk factors associated with DVT include:

• Sitting for long periods of time

• Having a blood-clotting disorder

• Pregnancy

• Injury

This last risk factor—injury—is the one that people overlook the most. Unfortunately, athletes of all levels are at risk of developing the vein disease, especially due to muscle tears.

Why the connection between DVT and muscle tears?

Deep vein thrombosis doesn’t develop in the veins that you see right beneath your skin. Instead, it develops in the deep veins that travel through your muscles. DVT refers to the development of a blood clot within a blood vessel, and while blood exposed to air such as in a cut or bloody nose is supposed to clot easily, clot formation in blood vessels like the deep veins can pose a serious risk if it dislodges and starts moving through your body.

DVT frequently occurs in the calf muscles. Unfortunately, the calf muscle is one of the most common injury sites for athletes, too. When a muscle tear develops it can impact the integrity of the vein, potentially leading to damage or a blood clot. While a muscle tear will heal with rest, putting your legs up and staying off your feet for a week or two is more likely to worsen a blood clot than help it.

Preventing Muscle Tears to Prevent DVT

By taking the proper steps before a workout to stretch your calf muscles, you can reduce your risk of developing a muscle tear or calf injury of any sort—and in turn reduce your risk of developing deep vein thrombosis in Atlanta.

Here are a few basic calf stretches to prevent DVT:

  • Using a resistance band or towel, stretch your legs and point your toes in the air. Place the towel around the top of your toe and alternate flexing your foot to your ankle and pointing your toes in front of you. Apply pressure with the towel as needed. Do this for thirty seconds per calf.
  • To stretch your inner calf, sit with one leg extended and the other bent, then grasp the bottom of your foot on your bent leg. Pull your foot towards your body as close as you can while keeping your heel on the ground at all times.
  • Lower yourself onto the floor in a plank position and place the toes of your right foot firmly on the floor, while resting your left foot over your right ankle. Push your weight backwards towards your heel without moving your toes. Alternate legs, holding the stretch for each leg at least 30 seconds.

Taking the steps to avoid a calf injury can save you a lot of pain from DVT. If left untreated, deep vein thrombosis can lead to a pulmonary embolism, which is a life threatening condition that happens when the blood clot leaves the leg and travels to the lungs. If you have any questions about other ways to prevent DVT contact your vein specialist Dr. Perry.

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