Preventing Blood Clots After Orthopedic Ankle Surgery
For patients needing surgery for a broken ankle, one of the biggest risks is a complication called deep vein thrombosis (DVT). This is a serious condition that can occur when a blood clot forms in a vein inside the body. These blood clots typically form in the left leg.
Blood Clot Risk Factors
Some patients have an increased risk of getting DVT following ankle surgery. Some of the most common risk factors include:
- A Body Mass Index (BMI) of over 40
- A medical history that includes blood clots
- A cigarette smoker
- Currently receives cancer treatments
Other risk factors may include taking certain types of birth control and having a family history of blood clots. For patients with these risk factors, an orthopedic surgeon may prescribe blood thinners to lessen the chances of developing DVT following surgery.
Blood Clot Prevention
Even for patients who are at a higher risk of getting blood clots following ankle surgery, there are some things that can be done to prevent DVT. Some of these things, such as quitting smoking cigarettes and losing weight, can be done before surgery.
Following surgery, your doctor will help you develop a program that can help to prevent blood clots. Since moving around is one of the best ways to prevent blood clots, this will include lower legs exercises, which helps to increase circulation. Wearing compression stockings and periodically elevating your legs can also help prevent blood clots.
If following ankle surgery, there is persistent pain and swelling, even after the plaster is removed, it’s important to see an orthopedic doctor. These symptoms may indicate an infection or fluid retention. For the swelling, an orthopedic doctor may recommend certain medications or the continued use of compression bandages.