If you suffer from venous insufficiency, or poor circulation in your lower legs, you may be susceptible to venous skin ulcers. These wounds typically occur on the side of the leg above the ankle and below the calf. They can be difficult to heal and may return if they are improperly treated and preventative measures aren’t followed.
A trusted expert from Advanced Vascular Surgery can help provide the best diagnosis and treatment for this medical condition and many others.
Here is a quick primer on what to know and look for regarding skin ulcers:
The primary cause of these venous skin ulcers is poor circulation that causes blood to pool in the veins of a patient’s legs. If fluid leaks out into surrounding tissues it can damage tissue and create an ulcer.
Several conditions can increase your risk of developing venous skin ulcers including:
The early symptoms and warning signs involve changes to the skin in your lower leg. If blood is leaking from a vein, the area will turn dark red or purple in color and in some cases the skin becomes thick, dry and itchy. Left untreated, this can cause an ulcer on the surface as well as swollen, achy legs.
Primary treatment methods focus on improving circulation. This includes keeping your legs elevated above your heart whenever possible, wearing compression stockings and adding walks to your daily activity.
Some ulcers may need to be treated with antibiotics, while others may require skin grafting for full healing. Vascular surgery can be used to prevent ulcers from returning.
Though less common, there are two other types of ulcers that can develop on your lower legs and feet. Arterial skin ulcers tend to be extremely painful and located specifically on your toes and feet. Neuropathic skin ulcers typically occur as a result of diabetic nerve damage. Diagnosis, causes and treatment may vary for these other types.
Once your ulcer has healed, patients remain susceptible to develop another in the future. The conditions can be quite painful and debilitating to your daily routine, so you should always follow your physician’s treatment and prevention recommendations.
If you believe you may be developing problematic venous skin ulcers or want to learn more from our experts, contact us today or call us at 269-492-6500. We have nine Southwest Michigan locations with medical professionals who are ready to help you.