Blood clots are exceedingly common in the U.S., with an estimated 900,000 people being affected each year. Blood clots are typically associated with surgery, obesity, and some medications; however, they can occur in almost anyone after a fall.
If you’ve been injured in a slip and fall accident, you might be at an increased risk for blood clots—even if you don’t think the fall was serious. In this blog, we’ll help you understand exactly what blood clots are, why they can occur following a slip and fall, and what to do if you think you have a blood clot.
What is a Blood Clot?
Essentially, a blood clot is a way that blood vessels repair themselves following injuries. Generally speaking, blood clots are a good thing; they prevent you from losing lots of blood after an injury. But if they’re too big, untreated, or break loose, they could lead to serious injury, stroke, or even death.
What are the Two Types of Blood Clots?
There are two main types of blood clots: thrombus and embolus. A thrombus is a clot that forms inside a blood vessel, and an embolus is a clot that moves around within your blood vessels and arteries. In many cases, an embolus is a part of a thrombus that has broken off and entered the bloodstream.
Why Are Blood Clots Dangerous?
Both embolus and thrombus can be dangerous if they go untreated. A thrombus can block your blood from traveling freely to or from your heart, which can lead to health outcomes like heart attacks or stroke. An embolus can detach from a thrombus and travel throughout arteries, eventually blocking blood flow in the lungs, which can result in similarly unfortunate health outcomes.
Can Falls Cause Blood Clots?
Yes, you can get a blood clot from a fall. While even minor injuries can lead to minor clots that have little effect on your health, serious injuries can cause blood clots deep within your legs (known as deep-vein thrombosis, or simply DVT).
Injuries can cause blood clots directly and indirectly. The trauma from the injury itself could lead directly to the clot, but the necessary recovery could also lead to a blood clot.
Blood clots frequently form during periods of inactivity, so if your slip and fall injuries force you to sit for an extended period of time during your recovery, you may be at an increased risk for blood clots. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand what to do after a slip and fall accident.
Can a Bruise Cause a Blood Clot?
Technically no, a bruise can’t cause a blood clot; however, the injury that caused the bruise could potentially lead to a blood clot. This is because if there is enough impact behind the injury, it could damage deep-seated veins, typically within your legs. As those veins heal, clots might form, which could eventually prevent blood from flowing freely, or break off and before becoming dangerously lodged in the lungs.
How to Recognize the Symptoms of a Blood Clot in a Leg After an Injury
Fortunately, there are many signs that can help you identify whether you have a clot in your leg following an injury. Speak with your doctor if you notice any of these symptoms:
- There’s swelling in the injured leg
- The skin around the injured area is warm to the touch
- You can feel that veins are hard or sore when you touch them
Additionally, while these may be less obviously connected to your injury, keep a watchful eye out for chest pains or shortness of breath, as these potential signs of a clot also warrant a visit to the doctor.
How Are Blood Clots Treated After Slip and Fall Accidents?
Blood clots are most commonly treated with blood thinners like aspirin, warfarin, dabigatran, and more. However, blood thinners don’t guarantee that you won’t suffer from a blood clot, and your diet might impact these medications’ efficacy as well.
There are also a number of surgical solutions to blood clots:
- A thrombectomy is a surgical procedure in which the blood clot is removed from the body
- A surgeon may insert catheters to dissolve and ultimately remove the blood clot
- A stent—a type of wire mesh—might be inserted into a blood vessel to help it stay open
Ultimately, your physician will help you determine the best treatment plan for your blood clot.
Trust Pasternak and Zirgibel to Fight for Your Rights
Keep in mind that falling won’t cause a blood clot right away. It could be months before any symptoms of a blood clot present themselves. Even if you don’t think you’re seriously injured, it’s crucial to contact a personal injury attorney after a slip and fall accident. This will allow them to gather evidence and determine fault if you do develop a blood clot.
Blood clots can be incredibly dangerous and may put your life at risk. While there are treatment options available, you could find yourself paying significant amounts out of pocket for medications or surgeries to have the clot treated or removed. These unexpected medical costs can have a serious impact on your life and livelihood, and if your injuries were caused by a person or business’ negligence, you shouldn’t have to foot the bill.
For the compensation you deserve, turn to trusted Wisconsin injury lawyers Frank Pasternak and Jeff Zirgibel. With a combined 50 years of experience in personal injury law, Pasternak and Zirgibel will personally fight for your rights and hold those who are responsible for your injuries accountable.
To learn more or to see if you have a case, contact Pasternak and Zirgibel today for a free case consultation.