Venous ulcers (also known as venous stasis ulcers) are open sores that appear on the skin, usually around the ankle area. These sores are signs of more advanced problems in the veins and are usually treatable. Most often they are caused by venous insufficiency, or poor blood flow from the lower leg back up to the heart.
Venous insufficiency typically occurs due to faulty valves in the veins. These small valves are responsible for keeping blood flowing in a single direction, up the legs towards the heart. When these valves become damaged, blood can pool in the veins of the lower legs. If pooling of blood is severe enough, the skin suffers from a lack of oxygen and nutrient supply, and this leads to skin changes.
Skin changes of venous insufficiency may first be seen as the appearance of brown, dark red or purple patches on the lower legs that may itch or flake. Skin discoloration may be accompanied by leg swelling. The skin may feel hard and may be tender. If this progresses far enough, open sores, known as ulcers, may form. Ulcers can be painful, are quite unsightly, and increases the risk of serious infection.
Risk Factors for Venous Ulcers
There are a number of factors that can increase a patient’s risk for developing venous ulcers, including:
- The appearance of varicose veins on the lower legs
- A job that requires long periods of standing
- A sedentary lifestyle without much physical activity
- History of DVT (deep venous thrombosis)
Venous Ulcer Treatment
Treatment of a venous ulcer may involve a number of steps, including:
- Dressings applied periodically to the wound, to protect the wound and improve healing
- Use of compression bandages or stockings to reduce swelling and promote blood flow
- Topical creams that promote healing, reduce itching and prevent infection
- Elevation of the legs as often as possible
- Treatment of the underlying cause of the ulcer, utilizing any of a number of minimally invasive techniques.
At Beach Cities Vein and Laser Center, we understand the challenges faced by patients with venous stasis ulcers. We offer a variety of treatment options to address the underlying problem, including EVLT, RFA, Clarivein, and ultrasound guided sclerotherapy. With proper treatment, venous stasis ulcers can be cured and recurrence prevented. If you are dealing with a venous skin ulcer at any stage, contact our office at Beach Cities Vein and Laser Center and make an appointment today!