Venous leg ulcers are caused by a decrease in the blood flow to the leg veins, which causes the veins to become inflamed. The blood flow is reduced because of an obstruction in the veins.
The two main types of venous leg ulcers are:
- Non-healing ulcers (also called chronic venous insufficiency)
- Healed ulcers
Causes of Venous Leg Ulcers
A decrease in blood flow to the legs may be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Varicose veins
- Deep vein thrombosis (a blood clot in the leg veins)
- Inflammation of the veins (chronic venous insufficiency)
- Heart failure
- Long-term bed rest
- Hormone changes in women
Symptoms of Venous Leg Ulcers
Symptoms of venous leg ulcers include:
- Open wounds
Diagnosing and Treating Venous Leg Ulcers
Venous leg ulcers are diagnosed based on the presence of symptoms and by inspecting the leg ulcer. Your doctor will check your leg ulcer for signs of infection. They’ll also use a stethoscope and ask you to bend your leg or stand to listen to the sounds of the blood flow in your legs.
If there are signs of infection or other problems, your doctor may recommend:
- Antibiotics to get rid of the infection
- Skin grafts to replace the skin that’s been damaged
- Surgery to remove the veins that are causing the problem
Treating venous leg ulcers can be more difficult than treating other kinds of leg ulcers. Treatments are usually aimed at keeping the ulcer from getting worse or preventing an ulcer from getting infected or getting worse.
Treatment for non-healing venous leg ulcers may include:
- Compression stockings
- Medications to reduce swelling, such as aspirin (Bufferin) or ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin)
- Topical creams to soothe the skin
- Antibiotics to treat an infection
- Compression socks or sleeves
- Skin grafts
- Sclerotherapy (medicine to destroy the veins)
Treatment for healed venous leg ulches may include:
- Prescription-strength wound creams
- Topical steroids
- Compression socks
- Compression bandages
- Oral medications
Your doctor may also recommend physical therapy to restore blood flow.
What Is the Outlook for Venous Leg Ulcers?
If you have any symptoms of venous leg ulcem, call your doctor right away. If you wait to seek treatment, you could have a serious complication.
Venous leg ulcem is a chronic condition that can’t be cured. But there are things you can do to manage your symptoms.
How to Prevent Venous Leg Ulcers?
You can reduce your risk of developing venous leg ulcmes by:
- Avoiding long periods of sitting, especially if you’re in a chair for long periods of time
- Wearing compression socks
- Wearing special shoes
- Avoiding standing for long periods of time
- Avoiding overexerting your legs
- Exercising regularly
- Maintaining a healthy weight
When to See a Healthcare Provider?
See your doctor if you have symptoms of venous leg ulcmes. Your doctor will also check your leg for signs of infection.
What to Expect at the Doctor’s Office?
During your visit, your doctor will check your leg for signs of an infection or other problems. They’ll also look at your skin to make sure you’re not infected.
Your doctor will also ask you about your symptoms and medical history. They’ll also examine your skin to check for signs of infection. They may call in a health professional to do a complete exam of your leg.
What to Expect at the Hospital?
A hospital stay may be necessary if your ulcer isn’t healing or if you develop an infection.
You may also need to stay in the hospital if you have symptoms of severe infection, which could be life threatening.
Your doctor will give you instructions to follow at home. They’ll also give you a prescription for pain medication.
What to Expect at Home?
You may need to take certain medications to treat your symptoms at home. You may also need to take antibiotics for an infection.
You may also need to use compression socks or sleeves to help prevent the ulcer from getting infected. You should also take steps to keep the leg elevated to help reduce swelling.
What to Expect During the Recovery?
Recovery from venous leg ulcmes is slow. It can take several months to fully recover from venous leg ulcs. You may still have symptoms in the leg after that time.
Talk with your doctor about what activities you should avoid and when you should return to work.
If you have a chronic venous leg ulcmes, your doctor may recommend surgery to treat the condition.
Outlook for Venous Leg Ulcer
If you’ve developed a venous leg ulcem, there is a good chance it will get worse over time. You can’t cure venous leg ulcmes, but your doctor can treat it.
What Can I Do to Prevent Venous Leg Ulcers?
You can lower your risk of developing a venous leg ulcmes by:
- Wearing properly fitting compression socks or sleeves
You can develop venous leg ulcmes for a variety of reasons. For most people, venous leg ulcmes are a minor problem that can be treated with home care
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