Athletic Dreams and DVT

Athletic Dreams and DVTCouch potatoes aren’t the only ones at risk for deep vein thrombosis (DVT). High endurance athletes like marathon runners and cyclers are also at an increased risk for DVT, though their highly athletic lifestyle often masks the symptoms and makes diagnosis a bit more complicated. If left untreated, blood clots can cause respiratory problems and even a heart attack as they travel away from the legs and towards the heart or lungs. When a blood clot reaches the lungs it is called a pulmonary embolism, a condition that can proves fatal.

Athletes at an Increased Risk for DVT

When you stop and think about the athletic lifestyle it is easier to understand where DVT fits in. Most cases of DVT develop due to long periods of inactivity. Athletes often don’t lay down for extended periods of time in the same way that someone with a sedentary lifestyle does, but their periods of activity and inactivity are often very polarized.

During any sort of marathon event, athletes tear their bodies apart as they push towards the finish line. The exercise level is a bit extreme, which is why so many athletes are sore after participating in high endurance events. Athletic trainers refer to this as repetitive microtrauma, and this type of minor wear and tear can wreak havoc on your body. The problem is that following an event, many athletes fall into states of sedentariness. This is especially true for professional or college athletes who participate in high endurance events and then travel home. This constant transition from high-impact to lounging around is difficult for the body to cope with, and puts athletes at a big risk for DVT.

Recognizing DVT

When you have done nothing more than sit at your desk or lay on the couch for the past couple weeks, then a sharp pain in your calf is a noticeable concern. This is not so for those who exercise a lot. A sharp pain in the calf is almost normal, indicating anything from a shin splint to a muscle sprain.

After a big event like a marathon, most runners won’t think twice about a pain in their calf and may be too distracted to notice any swelling. This leaves many athletes to go weeks before getting medical attention for DVT, and it is often not until the symptoms of a pulmonary embolism develop that athletes become concerned.

DVT is something that both athletic trainers and athletes need to be more aware of. Whether you consider soreness and swelling in the legs to be normal or not, you should take precautions and see a doctor to rule out the possibility of a blood clot.

Just being aware of the risk helps a lot of athletes notice when their body reacts differently after a race. If you are experiencing the signs of DVT, then contact your vein specialist Dr. Perry immediately.


Leave Comment