Accounting for about 600,000 cases per year, venous ulcers account for up to 90% of slow-healing ulcers on the lower leg. These ulcers are due to problems with the flow of blood returning to your heart and lungs, aggravated by the fact that your body works against the force of gravity.
While veins resist the backward movement of blood, they can start to fail as you get older or when you suffer from other health conditions. Ulcers can result as a complication of vein failure.
When venous ulcers become a problem, you’ll benefit from medical partnership with an experienced phlebology practice like MD Vein and Skin Specialists. Specializing in the care of venous conditions, Dr. Clement Banda has the expertise you need to deal with leg ulcers.
The first step, however, is recognizing that you have issues requiring treatment. Here are five signs that the sores on your legs may be venous ulcers.
Causes of leg and foot ulcers
Veins have internal valves that prevent the backward flow of blood. Since the pumping action of the heart is weakest in your feet and lower legs, these valves are essential for one-way movement of blood, assisted by your leg muscles as you walk and function throughout your day.
When you don’t have sufficient movement, such as when you have a job that requires long hours in sitting or standing positions, the valves take on more than their share of the blood burden, and some may begin to fail due to the backward pressure of circulation.
Blood begins to pool, and it can leak out into surrounding tissue. When it reaches the skin, it begins to cause problems that eventually lead to venous ulcers.
5 signs of a venous ulcer
You can detect the early signs of vein valve failure when your legs experience cramps, feelings of heaviness, and swelling in the ankles and lower legs. You may have sensations of itchiness and tingling, and your skin’s appearance can change, becoming harder and discolored, a sign of pooling blood beneath it.
Once sores appear, you can suspect venous ulcers when these conditions develop.
Sores start to form, usually ringed with red and covered with tissue that’s yellow. There’s likely little sign of healing over time, and the sore itself may get worse despite your efforts to care for it.
The skin around the sore appears discolored in shades of red, purple, or brown, indicating pooling at this location. Skin may have a shiny or dry appearance.
Unlike cuts and scrapes, which often develop scabs that are regular oval or round shapes, venous ulcers tend to follow the shape of the pooled blood that comes in contact with the underside of your skin, leading to irregularly shaped borders.
Itching and tingling might develop into pain, both at the site of the venous ulcer and elsewhere in the leg.
When an ulcer develops pus or a bad odor, it’s a sign that your ulcer is infected. This is usually accompanied by red skin surrounding it that feels warm to the touch.
Contact MD Vein and Skin Specialists by phone or online if you recognize any of these signs of venous insufficiency or venous ulcer. Treatment means faster healing and fewer complications, so book your appointment now.