What You Need to Know About Leg Ulcers

If you think you have a leg ulcer, you’re in royal company. King Henry VIII suffered from them as well, according to this article published in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine.

During his reign in the 1500s, physicians treated the king’s ulcers by lancing them with red-hot pokers. (Ouch!) Thankfully, today’s prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of leg ulcers, known medically as venous stasis ulcers, don’t involve burning your skin off.

A venous stasis ulcer typically occurs on the lower part of the calf, near the ankle. It starts out as a discolored area of skin. The skin can feel firm and leathery. Over time, the skin breaks down and becomes an open wound.

 

What causes leg ulcers?

A leg ulcer isn’t something that happens completely on its own. Typically, other factors are at play:

  • Blood pigments get into the skin and cause irritation and inflammation. Blood pigments are compounds that give blood cells their color.
  • If you have venous reflux, your body will produce chemicals that irritate the skin and other tissues in the affected area.
  • A lack of blood flow to the site may also cause leg ulcers.

 

What are the risk factors of leg ulcers?

If you suffer from venous reflux, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), peripheral arterial disease or diabetes, then you’re at risk.

Venous reflux is also called chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). It occurs when the valves in your veins weaken, causing blood to pool in your legs.

Deep vein thrombosis is a blood clot that develops in one of your deep veins, most often in the legs. It can break off and travel to your lungs, causing a pulmonary embolus. Peripheral arterial disease occurs when plaque builds up inside arteries and restricts blood flow.

Most wounds undergo a normal, healthy healing process. However, chronic venous insufficiency, peripheral artery disease (PAD), and diabetes, among other conditions, can disrupt the basic wound healing process.

 

How can I prevent leg ulcers?

Prevention starts with the treatment of refluxing veins. VEINatlanta treats these diseased veins by closing them off and rerouting blood circulation into the normal venous system. We also use compression to compliment and add to the effectiveness of the treatment. These lines of therapy aim to eliminate venous hypertension which, if left untreated, can lead to leg ulcers.

 

When should I visit VEINatlanta?

If you have symptoms of venous reflux disease such as cramping, achiness, tiredness, and swelling, specialists at VEINatlanta can evaluate your veins by ultrasound and recommend a course of treatment. Treating venous reflux will effectively prevent and treat leg ulcers.

Call VEINatlanta today at 470-243-4498 or click here to request a consultation.