Venous Leg Ulcers

Venous leg ulcers develop on the lower leg, most often between the ankle and calf, as a complication of long-term untreated venous insufficiency. Venous insufficiency is a condition in which blood flow in the veins is impeded by damaged valves. The weakened valves permit a back flow of blood, or venous reflux.

Venous leg ulcers may cause pain, odor, pus, tenderness and redness. The skin around the ulcer often becomes thick, dry and itchy. Apart from the discomfort and cosmetic concerns resulting from this condition, venous leg ulcers are often an indicator of more serious vascular disease.

Symptoms of Venous Insufficiency

Patients with venous ulcers will likely have other symptoms of venous insufficiency. These may include:

  • Aching, numbness, cramping, pain or heaviness in the legs
  • Pain that worsens when standing or walking
  • Swelling in the leg

Treatment of Venous Leg Ulcers

There are several methods to treat venous leg ulcers, depending on their severity and how long they have been a problem. Apart from keeping the wounds clean and preventing infection, it is necessary to improve circulation in the legs. This may be done by elevating the legs above the heart, wearing compression stockings and exercising, especially walking.

Some types of treatment for this condition include:

  • Sclerotherapy
  • Endovenous Laser Treatment, or EVLT
  • Radiofrequency Ablation
  • Subfascial endoscopic perforator surgery, or SEPS
  • Ligation and stripping of veins
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