What Is Post-Thrombotic Syndrome

The Basics

Post-thrombotic syndrome (PTS) is caused by a blood clot, normally a deep vein thrombosis. Basically what happens is that the clot damages the veins and valves causing the blood to pool in the lower limbs, which can cause a whole host of unwanted problems. 

Symptoms of Post-Thrombotic Syndrome

Depending on the size, location and severity of the clot will depend on what symptoms the patient will experience. Reported symptoms of PTS are:

  • Swelling
  • Dry, firm skin that itches
  • Ulcers
  • Pain
  • Fatigue

For more detailed information please watch the following video.

More Information on Post-Thrombotic Syndrome

My Own Experience of PTS

I have dealt with PTS since May 2012 because I had a severe deep vein thrombosis that has destroyed my femoral vein (the largest vein in the leg). The clot is actually still in the vein and is unlikely to go anywhere as I can't have surgery to remove it and my body wont absorb the clot because I have a blood disorder called Heterozygous Factor V Leiden - basically I have problems breaking down my own clots hence the DVT.

When I came out of hospital I was given white TED stockings, however, these were doing nothing for my PTS symptoms so I went back to my doctor who sent me off to get fitted for some grade 2 compression stockings (see below). Compression stockings will probably be the best help that you can get for your PTS (without surgery) as they help to push the blood back up to your heart which prevents swelling, reduces fatigue, and helps to reduce the pain. However, there are some other tips that I would like to share with you that I am using to help deal with my PTS.

5 Tips for Dealing with Post-Thrombotic Syndrome

  1. Whenever you are sitting or resting elevate your legs so that gravity can pull the blood back to your heart and give your over-worked veins a rest, which will also reduce swelling.
  2. Wear your compression stockings for as long as you can. I put my stockings on first thing in the morning and take them off last thing at night as it helps to relieve the pressure on my legs and smaller veins.
  3. Moisturize before you put your stockings on in the morning and at night when you take them off. This will reduce and prevent dry skin and will make it less itchy too.
  4. Massage your legs for a few minutes each night as it will get the blood moving around the muscles, promote good circulation and it just feels good too. If you can, get someone else to rub your legs while they are elevated that way you get gravity working for your veins too.
  5. Keep well hydrated at all times as this will make your body more efficient at dealing with any swelling you may be experiencing. It will also keep your blood at the optimum thickness - you don't want thick sticky blood but smooth flowing blood.

Bonus Top Tip

Arnica Montana

I have just started using Arnica Montana on my leg and it is proving to be a great cream. So far I have experienced reduced swelling around the clot and any bruising that I get from knocks and bumps heal very quickly, especially if applied soon after. 

If you are suffering from PTS too I can highly recommend some arnica montana cream, or gel, it is very soothing to rub over the clot and works very well.