Venous Ulcers: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

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Sometimes, your legs fail to push ample amounts of blood back to your heart. This malfunctioning in blood circulation causes open sores called ‘venous ulcerations’ or ‘stasis ulcers’.

Mostly appearing on legs, venous ulcers are persisting wounds, which can be extremely painful. These ulcers require proper medication for timely healing. If neglected, they can appear again. Accompanied by inflammation around the wound area, venous ulcers are among the most common skin ulcers.

Causes

Venous Ulcers

Our veins have valves that carry deoxygenated blood from all over the body toward the heart. In case of veinous insufficiency, valves of the leg veins get damaged, which makes for backward flow of blood in the legs. The rise of blood in the legs increases the blood pressure, and thus nutrients and gases are not absorbed by the tissues. Cells in the legs start dying, leading to wound formation.

Following things can increase your chances of getting these ulcers:

  • Formation of blood clots in leg veins
  • Obesity
  • Limited movement
  • Standing for a long time
  • Smoking
  • Blood clotting history in the legs
  • Serious injuries to the leg, such as, fracture, muscle damage, or severe burns

Old people are more likely to get venous ulcers if they have compromised immune systems.

Signs & Symptoms

Severe venous ulcerations can be avoided by treating the early signs of this disease. These early signs include:

  • Stasis Dermatitis – Changes in skin because of excessive fluid in the legs
  • Swelling, cramping, and heaviness
  • Color of the leg changes to deep red, purple or brown
  • Hardening of the skin
  • Itching and tingling sensations
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If your doctor fails to diagnose these early symptoms, you may start getting advanced signs of venous ulcers, which include:

  • Pain in legs
  • A wound covered with yellow tissue and exposing red base
  • Discoloration of surrounding skin
  • Infection in the wound leads to pus accumulation and bad odor

Treatment

The ulcer is usually treated as normal wounds. A nurse cleans and dresses the wound and repeats the process every week or so. However, you need some specialized treatments to completely heal the ulcer, some of which are:

  1. Compressed Bandages

This is the most crucial step of therapy as it aims at reducing the pressure built up in veins caused by extra fluids. Normally, the doctor covers the dressing with 3-5 layers of bandages. While bandaging, a high pressure is applied at the ankle since this practice is most effective in the healing process. The pressure is gradually decreased toward the knee and thigh.

If the compression is too high, ask your doctor to loosen it a bit. Movement of the ankle is important for circulation and healing of the wound.

  1. Elevation of the Leg

One way of treating venous ulcers is to restore the regular circulation of blood – from legs to the heart. This method helps best in case your leg is swollen. While lying down on the bed, keep the level of your legs higher than the hip. You can put some pillows under your legs to keep it raised. This practice is often combined with compressed bandaging to treat several symptoms at once.

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