Leg Vein Health

Updated 27 January 2016

Exercise helps deep vein thrombosis complications

A six-month exercise training programme designed to increase leg strength, leg flexibility and overall fitness may improve deep vein thrombosis.

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A pilot trial showed that a six-month exercise training program designed to increase leg strength, leg flexibility and overall fitness may improve post-thrombotic syndrome, a frequent, chronic complication of deep vein thrombosis, states a research article in CMAJ (Canadian Medical Association Journal).

Chronic post-thrombotic syndrome develops in up to one half of patients with deep vein thrombosis (DVT). These patients can experience leg pain, heaviness, swelling, water retention, hyperpigmentation and varicose veins and leg ulcers. 

Read: Computer bofs run DVT risk

Lack of effective treatments

"Given that effective treatments are lacking, new approaches to managing post-thrombotic syndrome are needed," writes Dr Susan Kahn, Professor of Medicine at McGill University, Division of Internal Medicine and Centre for Clinical Epidemiology, Jewish General Hospital, Montreal and coauthors.

"We performed a pilot trial to obtain data on the effectiveness of exercise training to treat post-thrombotic syndrome and to assess the feasibility of performing a multicentre study to address this question."

Read: Keep those travel legs moving 

Of 95 patients with post-thrombotic syndrome, 69 were eligible, 43 consented and were randomised, and 39 completed the study.

The findings

"The findings of our small trial should be interpreted with caution and require confirmation in a larger study," write the authors. "As most of our patients were young, well-educated and active, the results obtained may not be generalised to patients with post-thrombotic syndrome at other centres."

The authors conclude that exercise training may improve post-thrombotic syndrome and should be evaluated as a treatment in further clinical trials.

Read more:

Deep-vein thrombosis 

DVT a danger during travel  

Leg pain signals deadly blood clots 


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Dr. Riaz Motara is a specialist physician and cardiologist. He has an interest in preventative cardiology. He runs Veinsculpt, the first and only comprehensive vein clinic in South Africa, using endo-venous laser ablation as the treatment of choice.He also operates the only Women's Heart Clinic in South Africa.

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