Venous leg ulcers are a type of leg ulcer caused by high blood pressure in the legs. This high blood pressure can be related to other issues such as varicose veins, a blood clot or a disease of the veins. As fluid leaks from the area with abnormal veins, the skin starts breaking down leading to the creation of deep sores in the skin.
Unlike cuts or grazes which can only affect a few layers of skin, leg ulcers affect the whole thickness of skin. This means they can take a long time to heal (weeks or months) and often leave a scar. Leg ulcers are very common, especially in older people. They affect one or two people out of every 100 during their lifetime.
Leg ulcers can also be caused by:
People who are more at risk include older people over 65, overweight or obese people, smokers and people with diabetes or high blood pressure.
The main symptom of a leg ulcer is a visible deep sore on your leg. The sore itself can weep while the surrounding skin might be dry or have a rash. When the leg ulcer gets infected, additional symptoms include:
Treatment will depend on what type of leg ulcer you have and what caused it. You may need a special dressing and a bandage or a compression stocking. You may be told to keep your leg elevated above heart level whenever possible to reduce pressure in the veins and help the ulcer heal.
If the leg ulcer is infected, you may need antibiotics. Treatment may also involve addressing underlying vein conditions that caused the ulcer to happen such as varicose veins.
To learn more about leg ulcer treatment or to make an appointment for a consultation, please call our helpful patient service staff on (03) 9813 1535 or 1300 568 676 or contact us online.