A leg ulcer is considered as a long-lasting sore on the foot or leg that usually takes more than 4-6 weeks to fully heal. These ulcers most often occur on the interior part of the leg, right above the ankle.
The indications of a venous leg ulcer include itchiness, pain and swelling in the affected leg. There is also evident discoloration or hardening of the skin that surrounds the ulcer. In addition, the sore can also drain a foul-smelling discharge. A doctor should be consulted if a leg ulcer is suspected since it will not heal on its own. The doctor will assess the affected leg and perform tests to rule out other possible conditions.
Causes of venous leg ulcers
When it comes to a venous leg ulcer, it is the most common form of leg ulcer. These ulcers can develop after sustaining a minor injury where constant high pressure in the veins of the legs has damaged the skin.
Who are likely to end up with leg ulcers?
Venous leg ulcers have occurred in a number of individuals all over the globe, yet they are quite common with age. An individual faces a higher risk for developing ulcers in the leg if he/she has difficulty moving around due to other health issues such as obesity, osteoarthritis, leg fractures or paralysis. There is also a high risk among those who recently had an operation on the leg such as knee replacement or hip replacement. In addition, those who have varicose veins also face a higher risk for developing the ulcers.
Treatment of venous leg ulcers
In most cases of venous leg ulcers, they heal on their own within 3-4 months if properly treated by a healthcare professional. Nevertheless, some cases of leg ulcers will take a longer time to heal while some do not heal at all.
The treatment typically involves cleaning and dressing the wound as well as utilizing compression bandages to improve the flow of blood in the legs. Antibiotics can also be utilized if the ulcer becomes septic, but they are not beneficial on healing ulcers that are not infected.
It is vital to determine the root cause of the ulcer as well as ensure that it is properly dealt with. If not done, there is a high risk for the recurrence of the ulcer after treatment. The underlying causes can include obesity, immobility or the presence of varicose veins.
Prevention of venous leg ulcers
There are various ways in order to prevent the development of leg ulcers such as short-term use of compression stockings, cutting down weight for those who are obese, regular exercise and elevating the affected leg if possible.
These are vital if the individual previously has a leg ulcer. Remember that once a leg has sustained a venous ulcer, there is a high risk for other ulcers to develop within a few months or years.