A skin ulcer caused by improper blood circulation in the legs is called a venous ulcer. These wounds are located on the sides of the leg, usually above the ankle and below the calf. These shallow wounds are caused by leg veins not returning blood to the heart properly. Leg veins have valves that, when operating properly, allow blood to flow only in one direction. When these valves are damaged, blood can backup and pool in the veins. This is called venous insufficiency. Unfortunately, these ulcers are difficult to heal and often return if steps are not taken to prevent them. They are also known as stasis leg ulcers. These ulcers are different and should not be confused with arterial skin ulcers or neuropathic skin ulcers. There are many factors that can increase your risk of venous ulcers, such as deep vein thrombosis, smoking, obesity, lack of activity, or even a job that requires standing for long periods of time.
Improve Blood Circulation: The first step in the treatment of venous ulcers involves improving blood circulation through the legs. Lifting the legs above the level of the heart while lying down is recommended. This can be achieved by propping the legs up with pillows or other Foam Pads
Compression Stockings or Bandages : These are bandages or garments worn to apply pressure on the veins to improve blood circulation back to the heart. They help prevent blood from pooling in the veins.
Walking Daily: By taking a daily stroll, circulation in the legs improves. When circulation improves, pooling of the blood in the veins lessens.
Debridement: To have your ulcer heal, your doctor may decide to remove dead tissue from the wound.
After your wound has healed, you should continue to wear Compression Bandages/stockings. They should only be removed to bathe and sleep. Compression therapy helps blood circulation and prevents further ulcers from developing. If these ulcers don’t heal within a few months your doctor may explore other therapies such as medicines to speed healing or eliminate infection (antibiotics), skin grafting, or vein surgery.
There are numerous types of compression systems to choose from depending on the patient’s needs and physical limitations. The use of four layer compression bandaging systems can help a patient suffering from these ulcers by applying pressure to the veins and helping with circulation. Also, Unna Boot bandages can also be utilized to treat these wounds. These compression therapies can help overcome venous hypertension by reducing venous stasis and preventing/treating tissue edema.
Compression stockings and garments should be worn after ulcers have been healed. The most effective level of compression has been determined to be about 40 mm Hg at the ankle. Companies like Jobst , Juzo , and Venosan are examples of manufacturers of compression stockings. These wounds require constant care therefore requiring patients to redress these wounds daily, if not more frequently, in order to prevent infection or more invasive treatments (such as surgery).
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Kevin Cleary has been a Health Products For You contributor for many years and has a degree in marketing. His health and wellness journey has a very personal meaning and has guided him in his content writing for HPFY.
In 2006, ...
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