Leg ulcers can be painful and can interfere with your quality of life. Depending on the cause, they can present in different ways. For example, sometimes ulcers can be present with no pain if the nerves have been damaged due to diabetes. Ulcers can return if they are not cared for properly. It’s important to seek medical attention so you can be properly diagnosed and receive the right treatment.
Interventional Cardiologist Dr. Ronnie G. Smalling specializes in vascular issues like these and will be able to help you return to a comfortable life.
Leg ulcers are sores or open wounds that usually occur due to poor circulation, though there are a variety of causes.
They can affect both men and women at any age.
If diagnosed and treated properly, they can improve and be prevented from returning.
There are a variety of symptoms of leg ulcers. They may include:
Poor circulation in the leg can cause the affected area to appear red or blue in color. The skin may also appear dry and scaly.
It is important to monitor the symptoms so the wound does not become infected.
Venous Disease is the most common cause of leg ulcers.
There are small valves inside your veins that push blood up to your heart. If these valves do not work properly the blood can flow in the wrong direction and cause a clot to form. This causes high blood pressure and swelling in the legs. The extreme pressure in your legs can cause the skin to break and form a venous ulcer.
Other causes of leg ulcers are:
It is important to talk to a doctor about the ulcers you’re experiencing, so they can properly diagnose the cause and give you the proper treatment.
There are several options for treating leg ulcers. You may need a combination of treatments to fully heal the ulcer.
Elevating your foot above your heart a few times per day will lower the pressure in the veins of your legs.
Compression therapy is usually done by wearing compression stockings on the lower half of your leg. They are tightest at the ankle and less tight further up the leg. This encourages blood to move upward toward your heart and can help maintain a normal level of blood pressure in your legs.
Keeping the wound clean can prevent infection.
Over the counter pain medication can be used to relieve discomfort.
Antibiotics may be prescribed if the wound is infected.
Surgery may be necessary in some cases if all other treatments have failed but it is less common.
Preventing high blood pressure and promoting healthy veins is vital in preventing leg ulcers from returning.
Here are some steps to prevent leg ulcers:
Maintaining a healthy weight is important. Excess weight causes high pressure in your veins.
Exercising regularly can keep your heart strong and keep your blood pressure under control.
Avoiding smoking and limiting alcohol intake can lower your blood pressure. Nicotine makes your heart beat faster which makes your blood pressure rise.
Elevating your legs after a long day of walking or standing.
Continuing to wear compression stockings during the day can help prevent the ulcers from returning.
If you think you may have leg ulcers or you have experienced them in the past, get in touch with a specialist so you can receive the proper treatment!