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Venous Ulcers

Venous Ulcers – These are ulcers or sores that often develop in people with chronic, or long-term, venous deficiency. The most common cause of venous ulcers is poor blood circulation, which is usually because of an inability of the veins to properly return blood from the legs back to the heart. The usual cause of such circulation problems is weakness of the one-way valves in the leg that prevent the blood from returning toward the heart after it is pumped out by the leg muscles.

Although it is not exactly known how poor vein circulation causes a leg ulcer, it is believed that the venous stasis causes oxygen deficiency, which contributes to tissue breakdown and ulceration in the affected area. Venous ulcers usually occur on the leg, above the ankle. Varicose veins are often associated with venous ulcers.

Other causes of leg ulcers in addition to venous disease include: 

  • diabetes
  • arterial disease (another circulation problem)
  • injuries
  • inflammation in the veins

Venous ulcers can usually be treated effectively. However, it is important to obtain care from a physician who is a wound care specialist. In some cases, the care of more than one specialist may be needed, such as if the person also has diabetes.

The following activities decrease the risk (or chance) of getting venous leg ulcers:

  • Walking a lot and getting other kinds of exercise.
  • If you are overweight, losing weight (Eating 5 to 9 fruits and vegetables a day will help a lot).
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  • Sitting with your legs elevated, whenever you can.
  • Not sitting with your legs crossed.
  • If you have to sit long, like on a car, train or plane trip, moving your feet up and down once in a while, and standing up and walking if you can.
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  • Inspecting your legs and feet everyday. The earlier an ulcer is diagnosed, the easier it is likely to be able to treat it successfully..
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