A venous ulcer or stasis leg ulcer is a type of sore or wound that has developed on the skin. Generally, it is a shallow wound that forms when leg veins do not push or return blood back towards the heart the way they are supposed to. This is what is called venous insufficiency. Generally, you will find venous ulcers above the ankle, below the calf and on the sides of the lower leg.
Venous ulcers are due to poor blood circulation in the legs such as venous insufficiency. They are one-way valves that help keep your blood flowing to the heart. The valves are damaged when there is venous insufficiency. In fact, the blood actually backs up and pools in the vein. In addition, fluid can leak out of your veins and into the nearby tissue. Eventually, this can lead to an ulcer and the breakdown of the tissue. Fluid can also pool when the veins are blocked.
Signs and Symptoms
There are certain things that can increase your risk of venous ulcers such as obesity, inactivity, work that involves long hours of standing, deep vein thrombosis and smoking. The two types of skin ulcers that occur on the feet and lower legs are neuropathic (diabetic) skin ulcers and arterial skin ulcers, which are less common.
According to MedlinePlus, some of the early symptoms of venous ulcers include:
- Skin is itchy, tingling, dry and thick
- Leg swelling, cramping and heaviness
- Dark red, purple and brown hardened skin where blood is leaking out of the vein
In addition, MedlinePlus states that there are signs and symptoms of venous ulcers such as:
- Leg pain
- Unevenly shaped borders
- Surrounding skin can be hot or warm, tight, shiny and discolored
- A shallow sore that has a red base, sometimes has a yellow tissue covering
- The sore can get infected and have a bad odor with pus that may drain from the wound
If you suspect that you have venous ulcers, it is important that you seek the opinion of a qualified specialist such as Dr. Tilara at Atlanta Vascular & Vein Center. Actually, ulcers can easily form without treatment. Plus, the ulcers are painful and can cause your legs to swell and be achy. Moreover, if the wound gets infected there may be profuse odor and pus that drains for the area. As well, the wound most likely will be red and tender to the touch.
The best way to care for venous ulcers is to follow what your specialist recommended. The basic instructions for the best care include:
- Keep the skin around the wound and the dressing dry
- Change the dressing as recommended by your specialist
- Keep your wound clean and bandaged to prevent infection
- Wear the prescribed bandages or compression stockings over the dressing
- For additional protection, keep the skin around the wound clean and moisturized
- Clean the wound thoroughly as instructed by your provider before you apply a dressing
- Avoid getting the healthy tissue extra wet. This softens the tissue and causes the wound to enlarge
You should contact a specialist if there are any signs of infection or certain symptoms like:
- Chills or fever
- Increased or continual pain
- Extra drainage that is cloudy or yellowish
- Swelling around the wound, increased warmth or redness
Call Dr. Amish Tilara, M.D. at Atlanta Vascular & Vein Center when you first notice any of the signs or symptoms of a venous ulcer. In fact, contacting a specialist is the best way to prevent an ulcer from forming. Also, get treatment immediately if an ulcer has formed.
At Atlanta Vascular & Vein Center, Dr. Tilara will professionally address any questions and concerns you may have about venous ulcers. As well, Dr. Tilara practices a true patient centered medicine. He feels that it is highly important to understand and listen to each patient’s medical condition.
For easy accessibility, the Atlanta Vascular & Vein Center is located in Lawrenceville, Georgia and serves the surrounding areas such as Duluth, Dacula, Buford, Grayson, Lilburn, Norcross, Snellville and Suwanee.
Note: This article is not intended to replace medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns about venous ulcers, make an appointment at Atlanta Vascular & Vein Center with Dr. Tilara or an M.D. in your area.
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