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Preventing Deep Vein Thrombosis

A deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot occurring in a deep leg vein. The clot may grow big enough to completely block the vein. If you are at risk for DVT, follow the suggestions on this page to help prevent it.

How to Prevent DVT

Preventing DVT means improving blood flow back to your heart. Talk to your doctor about a program of regular exercise, which can help. Elevate your legs whenever they feel swollen or heavy. Also, follow these tips:

Elevating bed
Elevate the foot of your bed 5-6 inches using a foam wedge.

Wiggling toes
When you're sitting, wiggle your toes and tighten your calves to keep blood moving.

Elastic stockings
Wear elastic stockings at all times, except when you're in bed.

If you have any of these symptoms of DVT, call your doctor:

  • Swelling, pain, or both, often in one leg

  • Sudden, continuous pain deep in the muscle

  • Worsening ache when you are active or when you stand still for a long time

Online Medical Reviewer: Fitzgerald, Karen R, NP
Online Medical Reviewer: Toursarkissian, Boulos, MD
Date Last Reviewed: 11/10/2011
© 2000-2014 The StayWell Company, LLC. 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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