Beware of the DVT!

So sometimes my inner physical therapy student has to come out.  This happens to be one of those times.  Knowing that I will be finishing Boston and getting on a plane within 4 and a half hours (so crappy, but the best I could do) this concern became very real.  This isn’t something well known or talked about (unless you are in PT school) and I know that I am not the only person in this situation.

DVT stands for Deep Vein Thrombosis.  What that means is that a blood clot forms (commonly in the leg, especially in runners).  This is bad, then have that blood clot break free and travel to your lungs and this could become a deadly pulmonary emboli (PE).  If this should occur, death often occurs within one hour of the event and half of the individuals who die wouldn’t be suspicious of this (aka, runners).

Though there are many risk factors associated with poor health that can cause a DVT and subsequent PE, there are a few particularly relevant to traveling runners.  The two most important are prolonged immobilization during long periods of travel and injuries to the leg. Your body treats the trauma from running a marathon as an injury.

So what can you do about it?

  • Walk around post race as much as possible
  • Stretch it out
  • Foam Roll or use “The Stick”
  • Hydrate
  • Get up and walk around the plane
  • Perform isometric muscle contractions (just squeeze your muscles without moving your body segments)

What are the signs of a DVT?

  • Swelling of the extremity
  • Pain
  • Sensitivity over the area suspected of clot
  • Warmth
  • Redness
  • Tenderness and pain when squeezing the calf muscle

If you are ever suspicious of this, it is important to get to the emergency room ASAP!

This was not the post I was expecting to write the night before I leave for Boston but I thought this was kind of important to share.

In other news, Casey is here.  We are all ready to go.  I took my last practice exam that I am going to take before boards tonight and did very well on it, helping me to feel better about going away for the weekend and not studying the weekend before boards.

I will try my best to be up on Instagram throughout the weekend and post when I can.  Catch you in Boston.  Bring on Marathon Monday!!


Hillengass E.  Essentials of Cardiopulmonary Physical Therapy.  Elsevier Saunders.  St. Louis, MO.  2011.

Giles S.  PT Exam: The Complete Study Guide.  Scorebuilders.  Scarborough, ME.  2013.

10 thoughts on “Beware of the DVT!

  1. So first of all I know I still owe you an update on school…I promise I’ll shoot you an e-mail soon!

    Second, this is a great post for people who may not be aware of DVT. My sister actually had a 15cm blood clot right outside of her heart when she was 14 years old. Luckily it was caught just in time, but the poor kid was in the hospital for weeks and eventually had to have the top rib on both sides removed to allow her blood to flow normally.

    Does compression help as well? I usually wear compression pants or socks if I have to fly or drive a long distance home after a race.

    • Oh my gosh, that is so terrible that happened to your sister! But I am so glad they caught it in time.
      Compression totally helps! I can’t believe I forgot that. I will have to add it in. Thanks so much for picking up my slack 🙂

  2. Great to be aware of this, thank you for sharing. I don’t foresee any marathons in my near future, but when that time comes I am sure I’ll want to travel for it! YOU ARE GOING TO ROCK THIS RACE! I cannot wait to hear about it.

    • Marathon, half marathon, any run or even traveling without running it is something to keep in mind! Thank you so much for all the race love. We just checked in to the hotel and are about to head to see the Red Sox!

  3. Good luck! Can’t wait to hear about Boston! I’ve seen a lot of PEs but since they’re in the ER, they’re obviously symptomatic. And a lot of DVTs. I take ambien when I fly long distances so I always worry I’ll get one, especially cause I take birth control, but so far so good!

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