Do you have a sore on your leg that is not healing? If yes, you must see a vascular specialist immediately as it could be a venous leg ulcer that can last for a few weeks to a few years. It occurs when the valves in the veins are not doing their job of sending blood back to the heart well. When the blood doesn’t flow back, there is an increased pressure at the end of the limb, which can cause sores, cuts or ulcers to develop. When not treated on time, these ulcers can lead to serious problems.
If you spot a leg ulcer that is not healing, book an appointment at the nearest vascular center. Over here we discuss 8 important things that you need to know about venous leg ulcers:
- What causes venous leg ulcers? The condition is caused by poor blood circulation. When the veins in the leg do not send blood back to the heart, the increased pressure weakens the skin leading to ulcers. Besides poor blood circulation, this condition can be attributed to diabetes, kidney failure, hypertension, lymphedema and other medical conditions. Untreated varicose veins can also lead to non-healing open sores.
- What are the signs of venous leg ulcers? If you have a venous leg ulcer, you will experience the following symptoms:
Discoloration of the skin around the ulcer
Skin around the ulcer hardens
A heavy feeling in your legs
Swelling in your legs
Red and itchy skin around the ulcer
Swollen and enlarged veins on your legs (varicose veins)
Foul-smelling pus from the ulcer
- Who is at the risk of suffering from venous leg ulcers? While everyone can develop leg ulcers, certain people are at higher risk than others. People with varicose veins, a history of blood clots in the legs (deep vein thrombosis) and blockage of the lymph vessels are at higher risk of suffering from venous leg ulcers. The odds of developing venous leg ulcers increase with age as veins become weak. Women who are pregnant, people who are obese, those who smoke and those who sit or stand for long periods are vulnerable to developing the condition.
- Does elevating the limb provide relief? Venous leg ulcers are often accompanied by swelling and pain in the legs. Keeping your leg elevated whenever possible can help you seek relief from swelling. However, venous leg ulcers need proper medical treatment to completely heal.
- How long will it take the ulcer to heal? A venous leg ulcer is a chronic condition. Without treatment, the ulcer may not heal on its own. With appropriate treatment, most venous leg ulcers heal within 4 to 5 months.
- How can you stop the ulcer from coming back? To prevent venous ulcers, you first need to ensure good blood circulation. To ensure healthy blood flow in your body, exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet and maintain a healthy weight. If you have a desk job, avoid sitting at one place for too long and move around frequently. Also, keep your feet at an elevated surface. Wearing compression stockings can also help. However, ask a vascular specialist before wearing compression stockings.
- When to see a vascular specialist? As a venous leg ulcer does not go away on its own, you should see a vascular specialist as soon as you notice a sore that doesn’t heal.
- What are the treatment options available? Treating leg ulcers is important to get relief from pain and prevent infection. Depending upon the severity of the ulcers, the vascular specialist may suggest compression bandage or stocking. In severe cases, surgery may be recommended to improve the blood flow.
If you are looking for treatment for venous leg ulcers, visit Avis Vascular Centre. We specialize in treating venous leg ulcers. In some cases, antibiotics and blood thinners are recommended. For a few patients, blocking of damaged veins is important to prevent blood from pooling. We have state-of-the-art facilities and equipment to carry out endovenous laser ablation, a painless and minimally-invasive surgery done for varicose veins.