Deep vein thrombosis in a well-trained masters cyclist, is popliteal vein entrapment syndrome to blame?

  • Jack Kean
  • Ashleigh Pearton
  • James W. Fell
  • Murray J. Adams
  • Cecilia M. Kitic
  • Sam S. X. Wu
  • Stephen Stone
  • Emma K. ZadowEmail author


Whilst athletes are the epitome of health, venous thromboembolisms (VTE) including deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism have been demonstrated to occur in well-trained athletes. VTE is frequently misdiagnosed and poorly treated within this population, often resulting in career or life-threatening ramifications. Furthermore, VTE risk rises with increasing age (> 40 years), potentially affecting masters athletes. A 44-year-old well-trained male cyclist volunteered to participate in a research project investigating the influence of exercise on haemostasis in well-trained athletes. The cyclist presented with elevated d-Dimer levels both pre- (2251 ng/mL) and post-exercise (2653 ng/mL). The cyclist reported constant mild-pain in the left mid-calf region, with a cold tingling sensation in their left foot. Diagnosis of DVT was confirmed via a DVT squeeze test and Doppler ultrasound, with the clot located in the left popliteal vein. During the research project, the cyclist was exposed to numerous thrombogenic risk factors including travel, dehydration, prolonged sitting and exercise. The DVT in the popliteal vein may have resulted from repetitive movements associated with cycling. Additionally, hypertrophy of the gastrocnemius muscle may have impinged the vein. When diagnosing DVT within a cycling population, PVES should not be overlooked as a contributing factor.


Deep vein thrombosis Doppler ultrasound Sports related compression Athletes 



No funding was obtained for this study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sport Performance Optimisation Research Team, School of Health SciencesUniversity of TasmaniaTasmaniaAustralia
  2. 2.School of Veterinary and Life SciencesMurdoch UniversityPerthAustralia
  3. 3.Department of Health and Medical SciencesSwinburne University of TechnologyVictoriaAustralia
  4. 4.Faculty of HealthUniversity of Technology SydneySydneyAustralia

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