My right calf has been swollen and a little sore for the last few days.
It started last Sunday when I spent the better part of the afternoon trimming the bushes around our pool. I think the landscaping company that put them in assumed we would pay for them to trim the bushes every year because they must have put in the fastest growing, largest bushes available. But I fooled them - I trim them myself. Every year I trim them down to almost nothing and every year they grow completely back and wilder than the year before. Sometimes I regret my cheapness. After a day of trimming, picking up and hauling the waste branches I ended up pretty tired and with a sore knee to show for it.
The next day I left for Vegas for a week where I did a lot of walking, and my knee remained sore the entire week. Then on Memorial Day I noticed the pain had moved from my knee to my calf. It sort of felt like a mini-cramp. Not nearly as painful as a cramp, but still cramp-like. Yesterday I noticed my right calf was noticeably larger than my left and it was a little warm. On the instruction of my pharmacist wife I elevated and iced my leg but it didn't seem to do any good. It remained swollen all day today and tonight it's still swollen and a little sore.
A little Googling and I found someone here who described pretty much the exact same symtpoms - initial sore knee, then swollen calf. There doesn't seem to be an actual resolution to what he had - no doubt because he died of deep vein thrombosis (ok I don't really think that), which is what I'm wondering if I have. As an obese person I am more susceptible to DVT and so I think this is more than just a casual fear.
What is Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)?
According to the Mayo Clinic, DVT is "… a condition in which a blood clot (thrombus) forms in one or more of the deep veins in your body, usually in your legs. Deep vein thrombosis is a serious condition because a blood clot that has formed in your vein can break loose and travel to your lungs. This is called a pulmonary (lung) embolism."
This gets my attention because a friend of mine actually recently suffered a pulmonary embolism while playing basketball at the Y. Thankfully, everything turned out OK for him.
Symptoms of Deep Vein Thrombosis
These are the symptoms of DVT, all of which I currently have:
Swelling in the affected legs; this can include swelling in your ankles and feet.
Pain in your legs; this can include pain in your ankles and feet. This pain often starts in your calf and can feel like cramping or a "charley horse."
Redness and warmth over the affected area.
In addition to my calf being swollen my ankle (or cankle as it certainly looks today) is definitely swollen.
Risk Factors of Deep Vein Thrombosis
Of the complete list of risk factors you'll find on the Mayo site there are a couple that relate to me:
Sitting for long periods of time, such as when driving or flying. When your legs remain still for long periods, your calf muscles don't contract, which normally helps blood circulate. As a result, blood clots can develop.
Being overweight or obese. Being overweight increases the pressure in the veins in your pelvis and legs.
Injury can also be a factor, so perhaps I hurt something when trimming last weekend.
So could I have DVT? There is a huge difference in a simple swollen calf and deep vein thrombosis. My wife thinks it unlikely that I have DVT yet I am worried about it. My work schedule is making it tough but I am going to try to get an appointment scheduled over the next few days to clear up any possibility that I have would could be a life-threatening condition.
I'll tell you what though, this does get you thinking.