Venous ulcers are a surprisingly common vascular problem. Unfortunately, many people do not seek medical care until it is too late. Knowing how these ulcers form and what can be done to stop them is the best prevention.
What Are Venous Ulcers?
A venous ulcer is a painful wound that develops on a person’s leg, usually just above the ankle on the inside. They are caused by problems with veins.
Many people assume that these sores will heal on their own, and they may do so in some cases. However, this healing process will take at least a month. In some cases, the underlying issues with the veins are bad enough that the sore will not heal on its own at all. Venous ulcers often are surrounded by dry, hard skin that is discolored and swollen. In addition, they often are painful and itchy.
How Do Venous Ulcers Form?
Venous ulcers come from a combination of circulation problems and an injury, usually a mild one. Rather than healing, this injury develops into a large sore or wound that appears infected. Leg ulcers are common in people with venous return problems, obesity, old age, previous surgeries, or injuries to the area, and in people who do not get enough exercise.
Leg ulcers are caused by high pressure inside the leg, due to the fact that the veins are not drawing fluid out of cells and returning it to the heart. This keeps stagnant fluid in the area, which can make even the smallest injury worse. In addition, it prevents the good blood supply and oxygenation that are necessary for healing.
Preventing Venous Ulcers
There is a two-part approach to preventing venous ulcers. First, the underlying risk factors must be addressed. People who have a high chance of developing these ulcers can lose weight, begin exercising more, and care for their skin to keep it healthy.
Second, the veins of the leg must be treated so they will remove fluid more efficiently and prevent the high pressure that contributes to venous ulcers. This can be done with compression stockings or by a medical treatment. One popular way of stop varicose veins and other venous return issues that contribute to ulcers, is to send a catheter into the leg to treat veins from the inside with lasers, radio waves, and other forms of energy.
While some people have higher chances of developing leg ulcers, these often can be prevented by dealing with the underlying causes of the problem. See a vein and circulation specialist at the Center For Venous Disease today to find out whether you are high risk for this painful and dangerous problem.