A DVT is a blood clot typically occurring in the leg, most often found below the knee in the deeper veins. Lack of blood flow can allow blood to collect and lead to thrombus formation. If part of the clot breaks off, it can travel through the venous system. This embolism can lodge in the lungs, forming a Pulmonary Embolism (PE). This can happen to anyone with limited mobility or recent surgery. Although the risk is small in most foot & ankle surgery, the potential complications can be serious. The key risk factor is a history of prior DVT or PE. Other risks include increasing age, hormones, cancer, trauma, prolonged immobility, cardiac dysfunction, and surgery. Notify your doctor if you are aware of any of these risks factors.

This may relate to your recent Foot or Ankle Surgery especially if you required casting, immobilization and the use of crutches/cane/walker due to non-weight bearing status.

Signs and Symptoms of DVT (Deep Vein Thrombosis)

  • Swelling in the calf or lower extremity
  • Redness or discoloration
  • Tenderness or pain in extremity
  • Occasionally the feeling of warmth in the leg

Call your doctor if symptoms are present

Signs and Symptoms of PE (Pulmonary Embolism)

  • Difficulty Breathing (shortness of breath)
  • Chest Pain
  • Rapid Heartbeat or fainting
  • Low-grade fever
  • Cough with or without blood

If you have these symptoms, call 911 right away or proceed to the E.R.

Current guidelines do not recommend for routine prophylaxis unless multiple risks factors are known. A simple, non-invasive test called a Venous Duplex Doppler can effectively diagnose a DVT. Talk to you doctor if you have any concerns. Follow the exercises in the post-op instructions to help prevent the risk of DVT or other instructions set forth by Dr. O’Connor.