This article is a transcribed edited summary of a video Bob and Brad recorded in September of 2022. For the original video go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1AwnwsIh7ws
Bob: Okay, we’re going to start talking about blood clots, mainly in the calves. We’re first going to talk about the causes of blood clots. Then we’ll show you how to prevent them.
Brad: You bet, Bob. Blood clots, you must be careful. We have a list of causes, and we’ll go through them one at a time. The first one is if you’re bedridden for any length of time, getting too little activity, and sitting too much. All this lack of movement can contribute to and increase your risk. Next one.
Bob: Sitting on a plane, train, or automobile.
Brad: Yeah, again, that sedentary time where you aren’t moving as much. Obviously, a five-minute car ride is fine, but a longer duration. After an injury or surgery and we as therapists are very aware of this. We work with it a lot.
Bob: It’s very common. If you take medication that causes blood clotting, your doctor needs to tell you whether that’s the case or not.
Brad: They let us know as therapists if we need to know something. Don’t be afraid to ask your doctor.
Bob: We always keep an eye on it.
Brad: Right. Being overweight or obese is another risk factor.
Bob: Or one I have, is being over 60, but they can occur at any age.
Brad: Sure, the older you get, the more likely you will get them. I’m still under 60. I have 48 more days.
Bob: It can, again, happen to anybody.
Brad: All right, some types of cancer or cancer treatment. You’ll be made aware of this.
Bob: Smoking. I’m sorry, there’s nothing good about smoking.
Brad: Heart failure, if your heart is not working well, circulation problem. That increases the risk.
Bob: Inflammatory bowel disease or if you’ve had a personal history like you’ve had one before or family history.
Brad: Genetics. If you have more than one blood clot, you should get tested. For testing, you go in, they do an ultrasound. It’s a simple test, completely pain-free and they’ll know.
Bob: Okay, Brad and I are going to do three exercises that you can do in bed or in a chair. Brad, take it away.
Brad: Ankle pumps. You can do this in either position.
Bob: You could do it on a plane, on a train, or in an automobile.
Brad: Yep. Do 10-20 of them at a time. You don’t do them consistently forever. Take a break every half hour or so. Make sure you do your ankle pumps. Not too fast, not too slow. Number two, the infamous butt squeezers. Again, lying down, boy, a therapist does this a lot of times with patients. You squeeze your buttocks together and relax.
Bob: You can do it seated, too.
Brad: Exactly. You can do it with your knees up or knees down if you’re lying down. Just squeeze and relax. Do 10 of those, every half hour is good.
Bob: I can do them in secret because I’m sitting in a chair.
Brad: The next one, simply bring your knee to your chest. One leg at a time. Bring it up and you can grab your leg and give it a gentle stretch. You don’t have to get aggressive. Alternating legs will probably be best, but you can do one leg at a time. 10 of them on a side would be fine. Every half hour, if it’s not painful. If you have any problems and it’s uncomfortable, do the best you can. We don’t want to irritate things.
Bob: So, Brad, we have just a few more things to go over. One, stay hydrated.
Brad: Right, get plenty of fluids. We’re talking about water.
Bob: I know you don’t want to drink on a plane as far as walking to the bathroom.
Brad: Yeah, that’s trips to the bathroom.
Bob: Exactly, but it’s important that you do. Number two, I want you to get an aisle seat, so if you must go to the bathroom, it will be more accessible, and you can get up and walk the aisle if needed. Number three, compression socks.
Brad: Right. They compress. They should be tighter on the foot and looser on the calves. They’ll be about 15 millimeters of compression.
Bob: Or 30 millimeters.
Brad: Yeah, they’ll give you the numbers. They should go up to right under the knee. They’re comfortable, or at least they should be. I’ve worn these ones and they’re nice.
Bob: They’re tough to put on.
Brad: Yeah, they’re not the most fun to put on, but if they do the job, it’s well worth it. With a little practice, you’ll get used to it.
Bob: This helps reduce the risk of blood clots, right Brad?
Brad: Correct, no more blood clots. Thanks!
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