What are Leg Ulcers? A complete guide.
Leg Ulcers are abrasions in the lower legs, near the ankles, caused by venous disease. The abrasions develop as small openings in the skin create an environment for bacteria to settle. As more bacteria settles, these small openings turn into abrasions. When these abrasions stop healing, get bigger, and hurt more—a leg ulcer has formed.
The condition in which leg ulcers constantly form is called Chronic Leg, Venous, or Stasis ulcers.
How do your veins cause ulcers?
Venous disease is responsible for the majority of all leg ulcers. When the veins in your feet are malfunctioning, blood is not as efficiently transferred back to the heart. This causes blood to pool at the bottom of your legs—your ankles. This residual blood greatly increases the blood pressure the affected areas, which eventually causes tiny tears within the skin. Once disease settles in, the ruptures turn into abrasions.
While not all abrasions require medical attention, a doctor should see those that last for longer than 6 weeks.
There is usually one main underlying cause for venous ulcers.
• Faulty Valves
Veins are essentially long tubes that carry blood back to the heart. The veins in the legs have valves in them that ensure blood only flows in one direction—up, not down. When these valves get damaged all sorts of issues pop up, including leg ulcers.
All sorts of things can affect the valves in your veins, like:
• Sedentary lifestyles
• High grease/fat/candy diets
• A history of thrombosis (clots)
However, it should be noted that any vascular insufficiencies (vein disease) can cause a leg ulcer.
Treatment for Leg Ulcers
The treatment for Leg Ulcers is relatively simple—control the blood pressure and let the ulcer heal. In situations where controlling the blood pressure through conventional methods doesn’t work, surgery is also considered. As always, though, the best treatment is prevention. Making lifestyle and dietary changes often solves and/or prevents most circulatory disease.
Elevating the limb to a position higher than the heart immediately decrease blood pressure through gravity’s helping hand. When the legs are lifted to a height above the heart, the blood will flow naturally. This means blood is leaving the area’s where it has pooled, lowering the blood pressure in those same areas.
Compression stockings help lower blood pressure when standing because they create a pressure gradient. When pressure is applied towards the bottom of the foot, blood is pushed upwards. This assists the veins in the legs because they have to do less overall work to bring the blood back to the heart.
In situations where conservative treatment doesn’t solve the problem, your doctor can consider minimally invasive surgery, like Endovenous Ablation. This happens when the disease has been allowed to fester for 3-4 years, which is a common occurrence.
In situations where the Leg ulcers were not venous in nature, but arterial, thrombolytic therapy is also considered.
How do I stop Leg Ulcers from coming back?
Just because your Leg Ulcers have disappeared, it does not mean you’re out of the water just yet. Simple things like wearing compression stockings, getting some physical activity, and making healthy choices will all help prevent the condition from arising again.
For the most effective treatment available for Leg Ulcers in Naples, contact Dr. Julian Javier and schedule a consultation today.