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How To Treat Post-Thrombotic Syndrome

Updated on May 25, 2017

What is Post-Thrombotic Syndrome?

Post-thrombotic syndrome occurs when a deep vein thrombosis has either blocked a vein or caused damage. A deep vein thrombosis is a blood clot that has formed in the big veins of the leg.

At least 50% of patients who have a deep vein thrombosis will experience swelling, pain, fatigue and sometimes skin changes that can result in ulcers. These DVT symptoms are normally caused by damage to the valves that allow cause blood to flow back towards the feet instead of towards the heart.

Post-thrombotic Syndrome (also known as Venous Insufficiency) can be a nightmare to live with and something that I have had first had experience in for the last five years. For people new to this condition, or even for those veterans of PTS looking for some relief, I would like to share some of the things I do on a regular basis to manage my condition and to stop it from getting any worse.

How A DVT Is Formed

A visual explanation to show you how the veins become damaged

DVT Visual

Have you ever had a blood clot?

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Deep Vein Thrombosis Review

As you can see from the video that getting a DVT can cause a whole host of problems. One thing this video did not discuss was the damage a clot can cause if it's actually on a valve in the vein.

When a clot forms on or around a valve it can cause the valve to become stuck to the wall of the blood vessel or vein and can also damage it so that it becomes less effective when the clot has dispersed. So, you can understand why PST can be so severe when there is nothing to stop the blood from flowing backwards.

At the moment there is no official treatment to reconstruct these damaged veins, however, some medical facilities are working on some experimental treatment to restore some valve properties in patients. So, keep an eye out for these treatments as they may be coming your way.

Source

Why Compression Stockings Help

For anyone who has tired achy legs, whether that's just through lifestyle or DVTs, relief is always just on the horizon. However, this is where compression stockings come in riding their white stallion to save the day!

Compression stockings work by helping the blood flow back to the heart. The further a blood vessel is from the heart the slower the blood flow and if the blood vessel is blocked or damage then you risk getting a(nother) blood clot. Compression stockings help by putting pressure at the foot and ankle causing the blood vessels to contract thereby forcing blood back up the leg towards the heart. Compression stockings are tapered to allow for maximum strength at the bottom of the leg and easing off as you get higher towards the knee and thigh.

I know compression stockings are not at the height of fashion but it is important to wear them. Compression stockings and fashionare two phrases I never would have put together as they are traditionally seen as the 'Granny Stockings' in fashion trends. However, with the new technologies in place it is easier to get hold of shear stockings, tartan, polka dot, you name it and you'll probably find what you're looking for. As for me, I'm going to stick with my tan stockings and start wearing my skirts and dresses again.

You might also find that you get very dry skin when wearing the compression stockings so to avoid that you might want to try shaving frequently and heavily moisturizing at night.

If you've got tired achy legs that you can pick up some compression stockings online without a prescription but just beware that they can be uncomfortable so get used to wearing them gradually- it's like wearing in a new pair of shoes.

If you have a leg condition, blood disorder or any other medical issue then it is always a good idea to talk with your health care provider before ordering anything as you might need to go for a medical and get prescription fitting stockings.

Long haul flights can cause a great danger to people at risk of getting DVTs so it is always a good idea to get yourself checked out by your doctor and to also get a pair of flight socks too.


Update

I have discontinued the use of Arnica even though I did have some positive response to the treatment. The reason I have stopped the application is due to the fact my medical team pin-pointed it to the source of my inconsistent INR (International Normalized Ratio) readings with my Warfarin.

Please be careful if you are on an anticoagulant therapy regime and taking Arnica at the same time as you may experience similar effects. If you have a team of medical professionals and one suggests trying something new then it is always a good idea to have them check your records or with your other medical team for any interactions before you begin.

Arnica Montana

I've been working with my doctors trying to find a non-invasive way to treat my post-thrombotic syndrome and I think we've come up with a good system. My doctor recently went to an alternative medicines lecture where they talked about herbal remedies and one of the speakers was presenting his findings with Arnica Montana with post-thrombotic patients.

The doctor found that by using Arnica cream or gel on the area affected by the clot it greatly reduced swelling and pain in the patients. The doctors finding shows that the anti-inflammatory quality of the plant arnica is having positive effects.

I have been using Arnica Montana cream for about a month now and although I haven't had anything spectacular just yet my comfort level has definitely increased, especially on my inner thigh were the biggest clot is.

Elevation

This has to be one of my favorite ways to make my legs feel better. There are two ways that I do this:

  1. Simply lie down on the floor or bed and rest your legs against the wall for 15 minutes. At the end of a long day this can feel like heaven!
  2. At night you can sleep with your legs slightly elevated by either using a couple of pillows under your ankles or by putting something underneath your mattress to raise it up.

Both of these methods really do help with PTS as you simply let gravity to do the work that your veins cannot do anymore. In most people the heart is strong enough to cope with a few hours of having your legs raised but if you are in any doubt whatsoever go and see your doctor before trying anything new.

Massage

Massage is another great way to get the blood pumping in your legs again. It's even better when you can get someone else to do it for you as you can just relax and let them get on with it.

There are two ways you can do this and you'll hear conflicting information on both so it's up to you to decide which one works for you.

  1. Start off at the top of your legs and work in long smooth strokes down your leg towards your ankles. Then, once your reach the bottom go back up to the top and work down again in small circular motions.
  2. Simply do the above but start from the bottom and work up.

Either way you're getting the deep muscles stimulated which will in turn help to get the blood moving back towards the heart. To make the experience even better have a nice warm bath first and then use some lotion to make the skin nice and soft too.

Since this is an ongoing condition that I will have for the rest of my life I will be adding to this page whenever I find a new technique that works for me. If you are a PTS sufferer like myself then please drop me a line or comment so we can discuss what works best and maybe get some new tips and advice along the way.

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    • Bobski606 profile imageAUTHOR

      Bobby 

      21 months ago from U.K

      @ Ed Halifax, I'm glad you have decided to put on those compression stockings again. I've found them to be one of the best forms of pain management out there.

    • Ed Halifax profile image

      Tobe Advized 

      2 years ago from United Kingdom

      Hello Bobski606 and thanks for a very useful and informatitve Hub.

      You have persuaded me to put my compression stockings back on and to try elevation and massage. Until now, all I had was Paracetamol to kill the inner thigh pain. I'll be looking at the rest of your Hubs. Thanks for sharing.

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