Can We do Physical Exercises in Deep Vein Thrombosis?

Physical Exercise

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a medical condition wherein the blood clot known as thrombus gets formed in the deep veins which slows the blood flow through the veins. In some cases, the clot can obstruct the blood flow completely and can cause serious pain and other health issues. Mostly Deep vein thrombosis is common in the areas of lower legs, pelvis or thigh region but can also occur in body other parts like arm, liver, brain or kidney. 

Though Deep vein thrombosis is considered as curable medical condition, it can risk the life if the blood clot dislodges from its position and travels to the lungs causing obstruction in the lungs. This can result in serious health condition known as pulmonary embolism which can be highly life threatening. Hence doctors normally recommend to avoid exercises or heavy mobility after the diagnosis of Deep vein thrombosis. 

But in the recent years of medical research, it is found that doing mild physical exercises may not be risky and in fact it can be beneficial unless you have other health conditions associated with. This article gives in brief of the impact of physical exercise on DVT treatment and details the best guidelines of exercises.

Impact of exercise on DVT

Recent studies in medical field have laid the importance of exercise in DVT treatment. Some of the key benefits of doing exercise in DVT condition is as follows:

  • It is beneficial in helping circulation and can provide relief from venous insufficiency a condition wherein the blood is not flowing properly back to heart. In such situation activities like walking can help in improving the situation. 
  • Physical exercises like walking and mild stretching can help in reducing the discomfort caused due to DVT, reduce redness and decrease swelling in the effected area. 
  • In numerous medical studies it was found that patients who began to walk under the supervision of health practitioner after being diagnosed with DVT had reduced risk of developing pulmonary embolism than those patients who stayed in the bed.
  • Such patients reported improved circulation and thus add less chances of persistent calf symptoms.

When to avoid exercise in DVT

In DVT there exists a high risk of the blood clot breaking away from its place and travelling to the lungs causing pulmonary embolism. It is due to this reason physical exercise with DVT is not suitable for everyone. Though physical exercises in DVT have been found to be helpful but these are not suitable for every DVT patient. Henceforth it is recommended that physical exercises must be done only after the doctor’s approval and under the supervision of a practitioner. Those patients who cannot take blood thinner medicines or are having other underlying medical conditions are at high risk of developing pulmonary embolism and hence doctors recommend them complete bed rest. Such patients should avoid doing exercises completely when diagnosed with DVT.

Some exercises for DVT

Those with mild DVT symptoms can be asked to carry out small physical activities. Before doing any physical exercise, it is necessary to consult the doctor and to find out the best exercise that can avoid any further risks. Starting exercises slowly is the best strategy in DVT. 


Walking is considered as highly safe physical exercise in DVT condition. Walking helps in improving blood circulation, improves acute DVT symptoms and helps in getting rid of the pain as well. In some cases, walking can help in dissolving of the clots. Moreover, it is found that when walking is combined along with compression therapy the outcome is much better. 

Consider working for 5 minutes in the beginning add the comfortable pace at least 3 times a day. By next week slowly increase time duration for further 5 minutes. When you feel comfortable and healthier working for 30 -40 minutes once in a day would help you in healing.

For those who sit for longer hours:

People who have to sit for longer hours when diagnosed with DVT have increased chance of severe pain. It is necessary for them to avoid sitting more than 2 hours. Such patients can carry out certain stretching or extension exercises like the following:

  • Ankle pumps: in this exercise place your heels on the ground and slowly move the toes towards the shin. Repeat the same with other foot. 
  • Leg extension: in this exercise place your thighs on comfortable seat and slowly left the lower portion of your leg tell it is parallel to the ground. After few seconds slowly place your leg back to its position. Repeat the procedure with other leg.
  • Seated march method: in this method slowly pull your knee towards the chest and then after few seconds move your leg back to the floor. Repeat the procedure with another leg.

Make sure to carry out these above exercises in a set of 30 repetitions.

Remember doing exercises may result in loss of fluids due to sweating and this can result in dehydration which in turn can decrease the blood pressure. Hence, it is necessary to keep yourself hydrated. 

When to call doctor?

Call the doctor immediately and stop doing exercises if you notice any of these following symptoms:

  • Feeling shortness of breath and associated chest pain
  • Feeling dizziness or having confusion 
  • Building up of pain and swelling in the regions of legs or the affected area.
  • Unbearable pain or feeling warmness in the affected region
  • Coughing up blood


Physical exercises have proven to be useful insert and DVT patients. Some doctors our concerned about the dislodging of the blood clot and the risk of pulmonary embolism and hence may ask you to avoid any physical activity during DVT treatment. While some health practitioners may ask you to undergo moderate physical exercises to improvise your health condition. Hence consult your health practitioner before doing anything.