Venous ulcers are open sores that form on the skin surface when the veins underneath the skin do not push blood up to the heart properly. These ulcers are commonly seen in the lower extremities and are very slow to heal.
As the veins do not function properly, there is a backflow of blood leading to increased pressure in the veins. This prevents nutrients from reaching the tissues causing cell damage and ulcer formation.
Signs and Symptoms
Common early signs and symptoms include swelling, heaviness, and cramping in the legs; itching, a tingling sensation, or the formation of purple patches on the skin. In the later stages, shallow ulcers can form with uneven borders and the surrounding skin may appear shiny, tight, and discolored.
Smoking, pregnancy, standing for long periods of time, obesity, varicose veins, old age, history of blood clots, bone fractures, burns, and serious musculoskeletal injuries increase the risk for venous ulcers.
Treatment involves keeping the wound clean and dry, applying the dressing as instructed by your doctor, moisturizing the skin, wearing compression dressing to prevent blood pooling, keeping your feet elevated a few times during the day.