Venous Skin Ulcer
What is a venous skin ulcer?
A venous skin ulcer, also called a stasis leg ulcer, is a shallow wound that develops when the leg veins do not move blood back toward the heart normally (venous insufficiency).
Venous skin ulcers typically develop on either side of the lower leg, above the ankle and below the calf.
What causes venous skin ulcers?
The veins in the body have valves that keep blood flowing toward the heart. In a condition called venous insufficiency, the valves are damaged and allow some blood to back up in the vein. The slowed circulation causes fluid to seep out of the overfilled veins into surrounding tissues, causing tissue breakdown and ulcers.
How are they treated?
Improving circulation is critical in the treatment of venous skin ulcers. You can accomplish this by elevating your legs above the level of your heart when you can and, during your waking hours, using specially fitted stockings called compression stockings, designed to help prevent blood from pooling in your legs.
More aggressive medical treatments, such as skin grafting and vein surgery, are available for venous skin ulcers that take longer than 6 months of treatment to heal or that become infected.