We often come across people who complain of pain in calf region. Aside from direct blunt trauma in calf region, one of the most common causes for such pain is formation of blood clot in the deep veins of lower leg. This clot can cause blockage in blood circulation. The calf region becomes swollen and tender. Such clots are more common few days after an injury or after a major surgery.
Blood clot in calf is mainly due to deep vein thrombosis. The vessel which carries blood towards the heart is called vein.There are two types of veins, superficial veins and deep veins. As the name suggest deep veins are situated deep inside the tissue and muscle, where as superficial veins are those that you can see on the skin surface which are green in color. Deep veins are larger in size and they consist of valves, which allow the blood to be pushed towards heart.
Calf veins are susceptible to deep vein thrombosis. A thrombus is a small clot of blood in the vessel. There are many causes of DVT (deep vein thrombosis) such as a person remaining immobile for a long time, smoking, birth control pills, obesity, fractures, post operative complication, sitting for a prolonged period in one place.DVT can become life threatening condition as the clot from the vein can break off and travel into the lungs leading to pulmonary embolism. An embolism in lung can cause sudden difficulty in breathing.
Signs And Symptoms Of Blood Clot In Calf
- Pain in lower leg, especially in calf muscles is significant if there is blood clot in that area. There may be radiating pain in ankle and foot. It becomes difficult to flex the leg because of severe pain. Pain is persistent and it is due to stasis of blood in the lower leg.
- Swelling: swelling in calf region is always present when there is a clot in lower leg and calf muscles.
- Red and warm calf region: the rear of affected calf region becomes warm and red. This is due to inflammation in this region.
- Tenderness: the calf area becomes tensed and mere touch to this region may result in pain and tenderness.
- The patient is unable to move, stand, and walk due to clot in calf muscle.
- Pulmonary embolism, heart attack and stroke are some of the complications that can be encountered with blood clot in calf.
Treatment For A Blood Clot In The Calf
Blood clot in calf can be life threatening in some cases. Therefore it should be treated as early as possible.
- Anticoagulants are useful in case of deep vein thrombosis. These drugs do not allow fresh clots to form and at the same time; melt the already present clot in the vein. The treatment can last for few months.
- Thrombolytic medicines dissolve the blood clots. But there is risk of bleeding and therefore they are rarely used.
- Compression stocking: Compression stockings are used to reduce pain and swelling. Patient has to wear them throughout the day when he has blood clot in calf.
- If you are taking birth control pills you have to stop them.
- If you are smoking, you should stop smoking immediately.