Is Walking or Exercise Good for DVT

Is Walking or Exercise Good for DVT?

A deep vein thrombosis defines a blood clot that develops deep in a vein, most commonly in the calf, the thigh, and the groin. In many situations, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or other types of blood clots are caused by long periods of immobility – long flights or road trips, or simply lack of exercise.

Lack of mobility causes the blood to become sluggish and slow down as it travels through the arteries and veins. This causes pooling, which is a prime scenario for blood clots to develop.

But what if you’ve already experienced a DVT? Is it okay to walk or exercise? Will doing so increase the risk of a pulmonary embolism (PE) or other dangers?

Exercising with DVT

First of all, your physician will determine, through diagnostics, what caused the blood clot in the first place. Was it a genetic or hereditary cause? Do you have other comorbidity factors such as heart disease, diabetes, morbid obesity, paralysis, or some other medical condition that can contribute to an increased risk of blood clot development?

For some, a DVT can occur in an otherwise healthy individual who exercises regularly. In such cases, DVTs are most commonly caused by forced inactivity such as international flights or long road trips. In such cases, getting up to walk around and get the blood flowing every hour or so is extremely beneficial.

For someone who has experienced a DVT, traditional treatments have focused on anticoagulation or medication therapy to thin the blood, combined with bed rest. The concern is that a DVT can break off from its point of origin and travel through the blood vessels, potentially traveling all the way to the lungs where it causes a pulmonary embolism (PE). Some physicians believe that immobility or bedrest reduces localized pain and swelling, but on the other end of the spectrum, it doesn’t do anything about sluggish blood flow.

A number of scientific studies and clinical trials has determined that post-DVT ambulation or walking doesn’t increase the risk of pulmonary embolism, but every case is different. Age, overall physical condition, and contributing factors all fall into recommendations to either take it easy or to get moving. One particular study[1] determined that different scenarios recommend different treatments including the length of walking or ambulation for individuals, combined with compression (such as compression stockings), and bedrest until localized pain and swelling subside.

The study also examined DVT patients who experienced potential development or occurrence of a new pulmonary embolism while on anticoagulation therapy. Some physicians recommend strict bed rest, others suggest beginning ambulation a day or two following diagnosis.


Opinions are mixed on whether or not walking or exercise is good for DVT. As for the prevention of blood clots, and for individuals who suspect or have been diagnosed with a DVT, consultation with your physician is highly recommended. Every situation is different, but studies suggest that early ambulation, along with anticoagulation therapy and compression, is safe when compared to strict bed rest.



Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts


Richard Cohen’s Story with Blood Clots

A special thank you to Richard M. Cohen for helping the American Blood Clot Association to educate the public about the danger of blood clots. Mr. Cohen has been the recipient of numerous awards in journalism, including three Emmys, a George Foster Peabody and a Cable Ace Award. He is married to journalist, Meredith Vieira

Read More »

Blood Clot or Charlie Horse?

We’ve all felt it – that teeth-grinding muscle spasm in the arch of the foot, the back of the calf, or the back of the thigh (hamstrings). When do you know if that Charlie Horse is more than a muscle cramp? What if you get them often? How can you tell the difference between a

Read More »

Does Aspirin Cause Blood Clots?

Aspirin is an over-the-counter product that’s been used for generations, not only to reduce pain and fever, but for other benefits as well. Does aspirin cause blood clots? No. That doesn’t mean that using it is without risks for some. One of the benefits of low-dose aspirin (around 75 mg to 80 mg) daily has the potential

Read More »

Foods that Prevent Blood Clots

Blood clots form for a number of reasons: a surgical procedure, obesity, a medical condition, or an injury. Blood thinning and anticoagulation medications are commonly prescribed to prevent blood clots for individuals at risk. In addition to medication, a number of foods prove beneficial in preventing the development of blood clots.Blood clots are commonly formed

Read More »

Pulmonary Embolism Symptoms, Treatment & Prevention

What is a pulmonary embolism? Pulmonary embolism defines the sudden blockage of a pulmonary artery inside the lung by an embolus, typically from a blood clot that has an origin somewhere else in the body, such as a deep vein thrombosis of the leg. When it comes to defining signs and pulmonary embolism symptoms, the

Read More »

How is Someone Tested for Blood Clots?

A definitive diagnosis of the presence of a blood clot can be performed at your doctor’s office or hospital setting. Depending on the suspected location of the blood clot and the type, a physician has a number of options at his or her disposal. Among them include:  Blood tests  CT scans  Ultrasounds  MRIs How do blood

Read More »
Scroll to Top