If you have a venous leg ulcer this article will tell you what you need to know and what you need to do to get it healed.
You are not alone, literally thousands of people develop a leg ulcer each year in the United Kingdom and for many people even once the leg ulcer is healed, they can come back. So they can be a recurring problem.
Despite the pain, odour and disability they cause, leg ulcers remain a problem neglected by the health service.
So why do you have a leg ulcer? Well 8 out of 10 leg ulcers are caused by a problem with the leg veins. The leg veins transport blood out of the leg back to the heart. So problems with the deep veins such as a blockage from a deep vein thrombosis or back flow in the superficial veins – called reflux can cause venous leg ulcers.
If your leg ulcer is due to vein problems it will be just above the ankle. If you have an ulcer elsewhere, it might due to a different problem. See your doctor urgently. Often, there are varicose veins or thread veins around the ulcer and the leg is sometimes swollen. If you do have a venous leg ulcer it is very likely that the skin near the ulcer will be thickened and discoloured by varicose eczema which usually develops many months or years before the ulcer as an early warning sign that the vein circulation is not normal.
Now to part you really want to know. How can you get rid of your venous ulcers? The aim of treatment should be to get the ulcer healed as quickly as possible. Don’t delay seeking help. The longer you have an ulcer, the bigger it will get and the harder it will be to cure. This usually means graduated compression either with bandages or medical compression stockings. Term Graduated means that the pressure exerted by the bandage or stocking is highest at the ankle and progressively less pressure or squeeze is exerted further up the leg. This graduated compression encourages the flow of blood in the vein in the right direction and it encourages healing. Antibiotics, creams and ointments are almost never needed. In fact they can make things worse. Once the ulcer is healed it is very important to identify underlying problem with the veins to reduce the risk of another ulcer. This means getting a full assessment with a duplex ultrasound scan to correctly identify the underlying vein problem so it can be treated. Nowadays, this is done without surgery or general anaesthetic. A number of non-invasive or non-surgical treatments for vein problems are available such as endovenous laser.
So here are my top tips. Get help as soon as you have an ulcer, request treatment by compression bandages or medical socks and get the underlying vein problem diagnosed and dealt with as soon as possible.
If you would like more information and help with your leg ulcer, request a free information sheet with everything you need to know about leg ulcers.
Now, if you’re worried about your veins and would like a confidential chat please do get in touch. Our advisors are very happy to offer simple advice by telephone or email for free and without obligation. You can call and book an appointment direct without a referral from your GP on 01935 873951.