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Cycling after DVT

destructimodestructimo Posts: 17
Hi All,

After having an extensive DVT a year ago it's taken that long to get from the stage of being unable to walk at all to being able to walk a few miles. Never having been much of a 'jogger / walker or indeed exerciser in general' I've opted for cycling to get the strength back in my legs and better circulation and tighten up these leaky valves :D

Cycling is supposedly a very good form of rehabilitation as it's quite gentle on the calf muscles.

To that end I dusted off my some 20 year old Claud Butler Competition Alloy frame rigid MTB that hadn't been used in probably 18 years :D As I was easing myself back into it and going on a couple of rides with the kids I promptly ruined it for the road by swapping the slicks for knobbies and putting flat pedals on it.

Remarkably all it needed after 18 years of neglect was a quick wash, lube the gear selectors and new inner tubes to replace the perished originals.

So far had a couple of rides with the kids 4 miles and 6 1/2 miles. Which was extraordinarily easy going.

Had a proper lung bursting, thigh burning, sick in your mouth thrash on my own for 6 1/2 odd miles.

And today did my first 5 mile commute but at a slightly more relaxed pace. But still managed to over egg the pace on the last hill to arrive at the office in a sweaty gasping heap :D

So I've managed to wheeze my way through 27 miles in this first week. I think giving up smoking a year ago has made this a bit more possible / bearable.




  • Congratulations for getting back on the bike! I hope your recovery is permanent and you get back into biking.
    I'm also recovering from DVT and just this weekend did my first MTB ride in a long time. I thought it'd be boring as I know I must be more careful these days but after such a long lay-off it felt great.
    I must admit- it was v tough- all the road cycling has made me lazy!
  • Absolutely loving it.

    Odo's on 132 miles now. Been riding the bike to work mixed road, trails and paths. Plus weekend rides with the kids.

    I have conceded a bit and made it a bit more commuting friendly and put a set of Conti Dual Fighters on it. Also a set of SKS Chromoplastic full mudguards. I was a bit unsure at first being a bit of a fashion victim but after the first section of flooded road I was 100% SOLD :D

    Even dallying a bit on Strava and pleasingly around the middle somewhere.

    The calf exercises my physio showed me have been very helpful. Basically standing and rising onto your tiptoes to compress and exert the calf which manually achieves veinous return with the assistance of compression hosiery in my case :D I only noticed today that the calf muscles do start to come into play on hard hill ascents and these exercises have helped in strengthening them.

    Recovery has gotten a lot better now so I can attack hills hard without fear of being completely spent for the next one.

    Good luck on your recovery. Wear the hosiery and make sure it's the correct type and covering the correct areas. I've had to change GP to get mine sorted after finding I was wearing the wrong ones which pooled fluid in the knee.


  • Good to hear every one doin well, I've had dvt in my calf twice and find i get cramp in my leg the day after a ride but the doc says its normal and something that will allways happen now.also I get a bit worried about falling off and bleeding to death if im out in the woods on my own so allways carry enough first aid kit to stop a major bleed.
    Anyway on that happy note :(
  • UlyssesUlysses Posts: 104
    Quick question, is cycling likely to help varicose veins? I've got the beginnings of them on my right lower leg, doc says come back if it starts hurting, and I’m really conscious of them as I have a sit down desk job.
  • I'm not an expert on Varicose Veins but cycling might make them a little worse. Have a bit of a google on it.

    After a ride to assist veinous return I do some calf compressions and then put my feet up for a few minutes and have a cuppa when I get to work / home. :D

    In terms of helping circulation at your desk. You can do some seated calf compressions (rising onto tiptoes) while you're working. Drink plenty of fluids which is good for you anyway and stops your blood thickening, but it will also make you have to get up and take a walk regularly :wink: Flight socks might not be a terrible idea if you are sat for a long time or are particularly concerned but check if it's advisable with varicose veins. I know that compression hosiery is only used to prevent and as aftercare for DVT, not during.


  • Good stuff. I got one out of the blue (no injury / flight / long time still to cause it) in January and it's been a hell of a fight trying to get back to my old levels of fitness. Seems it's quite unusual to get one in your thirties without having done something to cause it.

    A couple of weeks back I did the Lakeland Monster Miles (Massif route) and I'm really proud that I just about managed to do it without dying.

    I'm still scared to death of any leg pain though, because I was told clearly that if it happens again I'll be on Warfarin for the rest of my life, which would be pretty much a death knell for the mountain biking trails that I love.
  • Mine was unexplained too.

    Do make sure you get a proper conclusion from your GP or specialist as to the cause. Generally it will be a genetic propensity for sticky blood (family history of DVT, stroke, etc. with perhaps contributing factors of diet or smoking for instance.

    If you are not on long term warfarin then I'm guessing they found an indicator of cause, or they may just have different treatment policy where you are.

    If however there isn't any family history you may need some further investigations. Without trying to worry anyone unnecessarily:

    "Studies have shown that in patients over the age of 40, the risk of an undiagnosed cancer being found in patients with a spontaneous (or "unprovoked") DVT is at least 10%. The cancers which are most likely to cause DVTs are breast cancer, lung cancer, bowel cancer and pancreatic cancer"

    The tests are the least embarassing of those for 'man cancers' :D Just a blood test, chest x-ray and ultrasound.

    Now your GP may not want to get these done due to your age, but if you are concerned they can't really refuse.

    Compression hosiery is good for prevention. You should really have a doppler measurement done to check your circulation when at complete rest and be measured for correct fit. Usual practice is to use them for 2 years, but I do know people who just wear them long term. Once you know your prescription of pressure and length you can make your own measurements for fit as your muscles change once you get back into it, rather than having to make an appointment with nursey for a measure up and just order them online.

    On the long term anti coagulation front: The therapeutic level is essentially that your blood will take 2 1/2 times longer to clot if you get a leak. So if you are doing something where you may well have a crash chuck a couple of sanitary towels in your bag :D But I do hear there are new anti coagulants available that are more suited to old people who fall over a lot and perhaps idiots on bicycles 8)

    Well done on the monster miles by the way. Looks an awesome ride.


  • My mother had two DVTs and a stroke so there's the family history. To be honest, the doctor had originally written it off as a muscle strain until I'd told him that... bloody good thing he changed his mind.
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