All About Venous Leg Ulcers

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leg ulcers

leg ulcersVaricose veins are the body’s way of alerting a person that something may not be right in the body now, or in the future. They are known to be unsightly and often cause aches and pains in the legs, where they are most often found. However, varicose veins can also bring about a very serious complication: ulcers.

Venous ulcers can be extremely painful and may form on the skin near the varicose veins. Most times, the ulcers will appear around a person’s ankles.

What is a venous leg ulcer, exactly? When the skin breaks down and inner flesh appears, this is a skin ulcer. Venous leg ulcers are the most common type of skin ulcer. Older people, especially women, are at the highest risk of developing these ulcers – just like they are with varicose veins. This ulcer develops because of some venous insufficiency. When the valves in the veins in the legs don’t work properly, blood will begin to pool under the skin. The blood begins to harden under the skin creating an ulcer.

Doctors will go through certain tests to determine if the patient has a venous skin ulcer. A venous skin ulcer looks different than other ulcers. Doctors will check the blood pressure in the ankle and arm. If the ankle to arm ratio reading is a low number, it indicates the ulcer is most likely caused by poor circulation and not venous problems. There are also blood and urine tests to rule out other conditions that may have caused the ulcer. Ultrasounds, CT scans, and MRI scans, can also show the blood circulation in the leg.

There are several ways a person can prevent venous leg ulcers, including:

  • Wearing compression stockings
  • Stopping smoking
  • Elevating legs when possible
  • Avoiding prolonged standing or sitting
  • Getting varicose veins treated

If you end up developing a venous leg ulcer, there are other methods, along with those listed above, to help heal the ulcer, such as: antibiotic medicines, creams, painkillers, losing weight, or a skin graft.

Venous ulcers can be treated and most people usually health within 12 weeks if they wear compression bandaging. The stockings/bandaging also lowers the chance of the ulcer returning. Once the ulcer is gone or healed completely, this is a good time to have surgery on the varicose veins or other venous insufficiency,

If you have concerns about your veins or potentially developing a venous skin ulcer from a venous insufficiency, contact Dr. Zuzga of West Florida Vein Center who has several office locations in the Tampa area. To book an appointment, click here or call 727-712-3233.


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Tampa Vein Specialists

No one needs to suffer from untreated varicose vein disease anymore. In addition, with today's favorable insurance coverage, the procedures are even more accessible. If you have a vein problem, you need Dr. Zuzga and West Florida Vein Center!


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