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All You Need to Know About Venous Ulcers

In simple terms, ulcers are wounds on skin. As you are aware, wounds on skin can form anywhere on the body and they need not form just because of an injury. When the veins inside your body have problem letting the blood flow to the heart, they bulge; the area around the veins also bulge resulting in ulcers. These are called venous ulcers.  Typically, venous ulcers form on the legs, especially near the ankle area. Sometimes, venous ulcers are also referred to as ‘leg ulcers’.

What causes venous ulcers?

Usually, venous ulcers are caused when there is a problem with the veins in your legs. The blood inside our body moves to the heart through veins. The one way travel of blood is facilitated by the valves present inside the veins. The veins also ease pressure on the leg when walking. When the valves in the veins are damaged (for any reason), the pressure on the leg builds up. This is called ‘Sustained Venous Hypertension’. As the blood pressure in the area builds up, it leads to swelling of the area and the skin resulting in ulcers.

Varicose veins is also another reason why venous ulcers may form. Varicose veins are the bulged veins with damaged valves that cannot facilitate the blood to pass through. They show up as thin lines on the surface of the skin or like big worms in the body that are clearly visible. Sometimes, varicose veins may not hurt but for some, they may hurt real bad. Venous ulcers or leg ulcers form when a person is suffering from varicose veins. 

Chronic venous insufficiency is another condition when the blood pools up in the legs without getting pumped to the heart. This results in bulging of the legs. Extreme bulging of the legs puts tremendous pressure on the skin in the area resulting in the formation of ulcers.

Treatment for venous ulcers or leg ulcers

Leg ulcer treatment options include:

  1. Compression therapy includes wearing compression stockings that can help in moving the blood to the heart and helping in reducing the swelling of the skin and varicose veins.
  2. Leg Elevation – Keeping legs in an elevated position for 30 mins, three or four times a day can help in good blood circulation, especially in people who stand long at work or home.
  3. Proper leg wound care and dressing of the affected area.
  4. Use of antibiotics as prescribed by the vascular surgeon or your general physician.
  5. Debridement – Thoroughly cleaning the wound and removing all the dead, thick skin and tissue near the infected area.  Post-debridement, regular nursing of the wound is necessary.
  6. Skin grafting – After cleaning up of the wound or debridement, skin from healthy areas of the body is taken to replace the damaged and dead skin in the affected area.
  7. Surgery for venous insufficiency may also be performed if your doctor thinks that it is appropriate.

You can always consult Varicose veins specialist for the best treatment options for your venous ulcers or leg ulcer condition. You can find detailed information about Venous Ulcers, their Diagnosis and Treatment options by reading our blog here

How to prevent venous ulcers?

  1. Workout regularly, and sitting for long as a couch potato at home or due to work can result in venous ulcers.
  2. If you are overweight or obese, start working out right away. Maintaining healthy body weight is important to avoid not just leg ulcers or leg wounds but for overall health.
  3. Keep your legs elevated for sometime every now and then.
  4. If you start noticing that your legs are swelling, wear compression stockings.