DVT is an acronym for deep vein thrombosis – also called a thrombus or a blood clot that forms inside a deep vein. Blood clots have the potential to partially or completely block blood flow. They can also break off from the wall of the vessel and travel through blood vessels back to the lung, where it can cause a pulmonary embolism or PE.
Most commonly, a DVT forms in the lower legs (ankles or calves) or the thighs. The DVT can affect both sexes, although the development of blood clots in the thigh is more common in men, usually occurring in individuals over 40 years of age.
Blood clots in the lower extremities or the thigh are commonly caused by the pooling of blood in a deep vein. When blood pools in a vein it triggers a number of mechanisms such as blood clotting. Any time potential damage or injury to a blood vessel occurs, regardless of how large or small, the body initiates responses to heal that area. The same process occurs when blood pools in a vein.
Pooling of the blood in the lower extremities can be caused by prolonged periods of bed rest, especially after a surgical procedure or illness. Bone fractures, stroke, or heart attack scenarios, as well as long periods of immobility or activity, increase the risk of blood clot development for some.
Signs and Symptoms of the DVT in the thigh
Signs are visible, while symptoms are something that a patient might feel or express in a position. In some cases, the development of the DVT is asymptomatic, meaning there is no symptoms present. In most cases, however, the following are common:
- Swelling in the area
- Sensation or tenderness or pain around the affected area of the thigh (some people may experience pain in the calf muscle if the blood clot originates there)
- A warm sensation when touching the thigh
- Redness on the thigh
- Pain or sensation of soreness or aching when walking. While this is common for many, especially more sedentary people, the distinction is that the soreness or pain will not disappear with rest
- Pain that occurs when lifting the leg or flexing the foot
In order to aid in the prevention of a DVT in the thigh, avoid prolonged periods of inactivity. At the very least, move the legs as often as possible during an illness, a post-surgical recovery, or on long journeys. Try to move the legs at least once an hour throughout the day and elevate the legs when possible in the evening. Last but not least, make sure to hydrate!
A change in lifestyle habits may also be beneficial such as stopping smoking, avoiding alcohol, and getting adequate exercise on a daily basis.