The condition, in which blood clots develop in one or both veins in the calves, is called DVT or deep vein thrombosis. It can become life-threatening in case it breaks off and moves towards the lungs and causes a pulmonary embolism. Risk factors for the occurrence of a leg clot are: bed-rest, fractures, smoking, birth control pills, obesity, and prolonged sitting.
Blood clots that are formed due to reasons other than obstruction of the blood flow or they do not dissolve as they should after the injury has healed, can produce painful symptoms and clinical manifestations.
Symptoms Of Blood Clot In Calf Muscle
Blood clots in the calves are seen as:
- Leg Pain: there will be distressing pain in the leg near the location of the blood clot. It occurs because blood gets pooled in the leg veins, resulting in pressure in the lower extremity. The pain has a tendency to radiate in to the ankle / foot and. When you flex the calf muscles, the pain aggravates.
- Leg Swelling: is a common symptom that occurs because the clot prevents the blood from returning to the heart.
- Redness and Warmth: there will be redness and warmth along the affected calf; it occurs because the blood clot causes an inflammatory response in the leg.
- Tenderness: the calf muscle may be tender to the touch. Swelling and inflammation can stretch the sensory nerves in the skin and muscle and these nerves become very sensitive to touch.
What Causes Blood Clot In Calf Muscle?
- Damage, injury or trauma to the blood vessel.
- Any alteration in the normal flow of blood, such as, turbulence, or occlusion.
- Hyper-coagulability, a condition wherein the blood is more likely to clot.
- Sitting for protracted periods of time.
- Prolonged immobility, such as, after an injury or during an illness.
- Recent surgery.
- Recent childbirth.
- Using hormone replacement therapy or birth control pills.
- Heart attack.
- Recent trauma to the lower body, such as fractures.
- Being at a very high altitude.
- Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation, a condition wherein clotting occurs inappropriately, usually due to infection or organ failure.
- Advanced age.
Clot In Calf Muscle Treatment
- Anticoagulants: are prescribed since they prevent blood clots from increasing in size, also new clots do not form. What’s more, it helps the body break down existing clots. Treatment may continue for 3 to 6 months, or indefinitely if a DVT recurs.
- Thromobolytic Drugs: help dissolve a blood clot rapidly, but these are advocated only for big blood clots that cause severe symptoms and are used for life-threatening situations.
- Thrombectomy: is a surgical or radiographic procedure that removes the blood clot from the vein. In the surgery, the vein is opened and the clot removed; and then sutured back. In the radiographic procedure, a contrast dye is introduced in to the vein along with a catheter to describe the boundaries of the clot. The catheter pulls the clot out of the vein.
- Filter: an umbrella-shaped filter is placed in a large vein to seize the clot before it travels to the lung.
- Elevating the leg: elevation decreases swelling significantly.
- Compression stockings: worn from the ankle to the thigh reduces swelling in the legs.