If there’s ever a wound on your leg that won’t heal, this is known as a leg ulcer. This wound could have started as a cut to the tissue or an area where the skin is not getting enough nutrients or oxygen from your blood, making tissues die and forming a wound. It’s when that wound doesn’t heal and lasts longer than a normal injury would that it becomes known as an ulcer.
What causes a venous leg ulcer?
Venous leg ulcers are usually caused when veins in the legs aren’t working properly. Veins are supposed to send blood back to your heart and something, usually valves, aren’t stopping the blood where they should.
That backflow of blood then increases the pressure at the end of the limb weakening the skin and making it more difficult for the wound to heal itself. This can occur anywhere on your body but most frequently happens in bony areas, like ankles.
What are the treatment options for leg ulcers?
To treat leg ulcers, the main goal is to lower the pressure in the leg veins. You can do this by using compression bandages or compression stockings. This helps to improve blood circulation by adding pressure to the weak vein. That should make the area receive nutrients and oxygen properly again to help heal.
Other than compression stockings, here are some other possible treatment options:
Elevate your leg — Keep your leg elevated above your heart to help the pressure return to a normal level. We recommend raising your leg above your heart for a half-hour at a time, 3 to 4 times a day.
Wound care — Keeping the wound properly bandaged is extremely helpful in promoting healing. We can also determine if it’s infected and prescribe antibiotics.
Surgery — If your leg ulcer was caused by varicose veins, we have surgical options to treat it once the ulcer has healed.
Medications — We can provide pain medication as needed. We’ll also likely put you on a course of antibiotics as well.