Leg ulcers are shallow, open sores that vary in size and are relatively painless. The most common cause of leg ulcers is chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). They generally appear in the later stages of CVI, occurring near large veins around the ankle.
When blood pools due to CVI, pressure builds in the lower extremities. The pressure triggers the lymphatic system to produce fluid that leaks into the surrounding tissue and causes swelling.
This hampers circulation in the lower legs, creating a low-nutrient environment due to blood that is low in oxygen and high in lactic acid and other end-metabolites. Deprived of essential nutrients that they normally get from oxygenated blood, the legs take longer to heal.
Who Is at Risk?
Women over age 50 are at the highest risk of developing CVI. Additional risk factors include pregnancy, obesity, high blood pressure, a sedentary lifestyle, and working in a job that requires long hours on your feet.
Individuals with varicose veins (bulging veins on legs or feet) or a history of venous thrombosis (blood clots) have a higher chance of developing leg ulcers as a symptom of CVI.
How Do You Treat Leg Ulcers?
Venous leg ulcers can be difficult to heal. Conservative therapies that may offer temporary relief include:
- Compression stockings
- Multi-component bandaging
- Elevating legs several times a day for 15-30 minutes
- Topical wound medication
For long-term relief from leg ulcers, you must treat the disease itself. We have several minimally invasive procedures we use to treat CVI, including:
- Endovenous radiofrequency ablation (RFA)
- Ambulatory phlebectomy
- Ultrasound-guided sclerotherapy
You don’t have to live with leg ulcers that won’t heal. You have treatment options—call today!