The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports Medicine

Risky Side Effects – Beware of Blood Clots that May Develop after an Ankle Injury

Posted by on Thursday, July 17th, 2014

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Ankle injuries can be hard to read, unless you are a trained medical professional with diagnostic tools at your disposal. Often times, the inflammation, pain, and bruising of a fracture can look the same as a simple sprain. Research shows that even minor leg injuries like pulled muscles and ankle sprains can increase the risk of potentially life-threatening blood clots threefold, so it’s important that you see a knowledgeable foot doctor at the first sign of trouble. New Yorkers can visit The Center for Podiatric Care & Sports Medicine in Manhattan or Westchester for expert care.

ankle injury risks
Deep vein thrombosis can happen following an ankle injury, so it is always important to seek professional care.
Image Source: BruceBlaus via Wikimedia.org

Police Officer in the Bahamas Dies of Ankle Injury Related Blood Clot

Constable Garvin Demeritte, a 31-year-old member of the Royal Bahamas Police Force on Grand Bahama Island, sustained an ankle injury following a car accident. Though he was fitted with a cast and received some medical treatment, he died — presumably of a heart attack. Tribune 242 reports that, earlier in the year, a young woman with an ankle injury died in the same hospital under the same circumstances.

Research Shows Ankle Injury Blood Clot Connection

Research conducted at Leiden University in the Netherlands looked at patients with a history of deep vein thrombosis and lung clots. They found that 11.7% of 2,471 heart attack patients (289) had suffered a minor injury in the three months prior to their serious blood clot. Additionally, they found that 154 of the 3,534 patients with no history of deep vein thrombosis suffered a minor injury before suffering their first blood clot. Leg injuries, in particular, were identified in most cases. Scientists believe the reduced mobility following injury may have something to do with the increased risk.

Risk Factors for Ankle Injury Blood Clots

So, do you need to run to the emergency room or foot doctor for every little ankle twist? Well, certainly you should if you are in the risk pool. In addition to sustaining a leg injury, risk factors for developing blood clots include:

– Using birth control pills, patches, or rings

– Being pregnant or having given birth within the last six weeks

– Receiving Estrogen and Progestin hormone therapy

– Having a medical condition such as cancer, heart failure, arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, or kidney disorder

– Having past history or family history of blood clots

– Possessing acquired or congenital clot disorder

– Older age

– Obesity

– Cigarette smoking

– Varicose veins

When to Get Help for an Ankle Injury

WebMD recommends calling a doctor about an ankle sprain if:

– You heard a “pop” when you sprained your ankle and have moderate or severe bruising.

– You can’t walk or put weight on your foot, or your ankle feels unstable.

– You have redness, swelling, or pain in the leg or groin.

– You feel your cast is too tight.

– Your bruising and swelling lasts more than two weeks.

– You have no noticeable improvement in your ankle after one week. 

One 47-year-old tennis player and deep vein thrombosis survivor recalls how a simple ankle roll put his life in jeopardy. He told the CDC, “I had no idea that I could get a blood clot from having a sprained ankle. I guess if I had gone to the doctor for a two-week checkup, it may have been caught sooner.”

Get Expert Ankle Injury Treatment in New York City

Here at The Center for Podiatric Care & Sports Medicine, we believe in a philosophy of active recovery. Whenever possible, we like to see patients stretching, participating in physical therapy, taking aquatic therapy classes, and riding recumbent bicycles. We explore options like aircasts before deferring to the traditional plaster cast. Our board-certified podiatrists and podiatric surgeons are knowledgeable about these risks and monitor all patients very carefully throughout treatment to ensure that blood clots have not formed. Contact us today to set up an appointment at one of our offices.

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If you have any foot problems or pain, contact The Center for Podiatric Care and Sports MedicineDr. Josef J. GeldwertDr. Katherine Lai, Dr. Ryan Minara and Dr. Mariola Rivera have helped thousands of people get back on their feet. Unfortunately, we cannot give diagnoses or treatment advice online. Please make an appointment to see us if you live in the NY metropolitan area or seek out a podiatrist in your area.