Venous Leg Ulcer
The venous leg ulcer is a chronic sore that typically takes more than two weeks to heal and usually develops inside the leg, just above the ankle.
Venous leg ulcer symptoms
You might have the condition ulcer if you have:
- Swollen ankles
- Darkening and discoloration of the skin near the ulcer
- Heavy feeling in your legs
- Swelling or aching in your legs
- Red, flaky, itchy, or scaly skin on your legs
- Enlarged or swollen veins on your legs
- Foul-smelling discharge from the leg ulcer
Venous leg ulcer causes
A venous leg ulcer develops after a minor injury when there is an issue with blood circulation in your leg veins and increases the pressures inside the veins.
The constant high pressure can eventually damage the small skin blood vessels and make the skin fragile. So, the skin will easily break and form an ulcer after a scratch or knock. Treatments are the only way to heal the ulcer.
Who’s at risk?
The following factor can increase the chances of developing a venous leg ulcer:
- Overweight or obese: Being above 30 BMI
- Difficulty walking: When you have weak calf muscles that affect your circulation
- Previous DVT (deep vein thrombosis): Blood clots that develop in the leg
- Previous leg surgery: Knee replacement or hip replacement that prevents from moving
- Increase in age: It can be difficult for people to move around when they get older, specifically if they have arthritis
Venous leg ulcer treatments
Venous leg ulcers take around 3–4 months to heal from compression leg ulcer therapy, but some might also take longer, and there are chances that some may never heal.
Treatments typically involve:
- Dressing and cleaning the wound
- Applying compression with stocking or bandages to improve the blood flow in the legs
The doctor will also ensure to address the condition’s underlying cause since leg ulcers are likely to return even after treatment.
Reviewed by – Dr. Priyanka, MBBS MD Microbiology
Page last reviewed: 16 JULY 2022