Have you noticed any leg ulcers that don’t seem to go away?
these open wounds may be venous leg ulcers. You might have an underlying health concern that may have triggered these sores to develop on your lower extremities.
It’s crucial that you don’t ignore these open wounds as they can lead to more severe complications. While the majority of vein disorders are easy to treat, open wounds or venous ulcers are more severe.
When left untreated or misdiagnosed, these can lead to a heightened risk of infection due to exposure to bacteria through the exposed wound.
In this article, we will cover
- What causes these open wounds?
- Symptoms associated with leg ulcers
- What you can do to stave off the risk of infection?
What Causes Venous Leg Ulcers?
A venous disorder causes the majority of ulcers on legs. The open wounds appear when the veins in the lower leg are subjected to increased pressure.
These veins have one-way valves that keep the blood flowing up toward the heart, preventing it from flowing backward. When these valves or veins weaken and have trouble circulating blood, it causes venous insufficiency.
When the blood doesn’t flow back to the heart, it begins pooling in the veins, and expanding the veins until they become varicose in nature. As these veins continue to expand and weaken, the surrounding tissue and skin continue to get damaged as well.
When left untreated, this buildup of fluid prevents the supply of oxygen and nutrition to tissues. Eventually, the lack of oxygen causes the cells to die, leading to leg ulcer formation.
Similarly, varicose veins are also associated with leg ulcers. When these enlarged, knotty veins are left untreated, they can cause open wounds.
Why you shouldn’t Ignore Leg Ulcers?
These ulcers can develop into severe ulcers. If you don’t get the right treatment, they have a high probability of becoming infected and taking longer to heal completely.
Accurate diagnosis conducted by a vascular surgeon is necessary to prevent it from causing severe complications. Often a simple ultrasound can diagnose the problem within 30-45 minutes.
Symptoms of Leg Ulcers
The symptoms you experience alongside open wounds depend on the underlying condition that caused them.
For a majority of people, open wounds or leg ulcers are painful. However, some people experience no pain. This can be due to nerve damage caused by mismanaged diabetes.
The lack of pain is why some cases of open wounds are misdiagnosed. Instead of self-diagnosis, make an appointment with a vein doctor to learn the prognosis.
If any of the following symptoms accompany the open wounds on your legs, seek professional help:
- Pus and pain in the affected area
- Open sores that seem to grow larger
- Swelling around the affected area
- Enlarged or varicose veins
- Heaviness in the legs
What Does It Look Like?
Venous leg ulcers usually develop anywhere between your knee and ankle. More typically, they appear on the inner side of the leg or around the ankle.
They appear as shallow ulcers with uneven edges, filled with a liquid that drains out or leaks frequently. You’ll also notice:
- Swelling and red, itchy skin around the open wound
- Tightness around the affected area
- Heaviness in your legs
- Aching or throbbing pain
- Skin discoloration
In some cases, these venous leg ulcers are only superficial and only affect the skin on your leg. In other cases, these ulcers can extend more in-depth into the fat layer, muscle tissue, tendon, and even bone.
Some risk factors for open wounds or venous leg ulcers include:
- Preexisting varicose veins
- A history of deep-vein thrombosis or blood clots in the legs
- Family history of leg ulcers and venous insufficiency
- Sitting or standing for long periods
- Injuries or muscle damage
What Can You Do About Open Wounds on Legs?
Proper diagnosis is necessary to rule out any serious causes of open wounds on your legs. To avoid complications and infection, see your doctor.
They’ll be able to run some tests along with performing a careful physical examination to diagnose the exact cause of your leg ulcers. This will help create a treatment plan that gets rid of the open wounds.
Depending on the severity of your open wounds, your doctor may suggest some remedies to help alleviate pain and promote healing. These may include:
- Regular exercise to encourage good circulation
- Elevating your legs while resting
- Wearing loose clothing that allows the sores to heal
The most important recommendation is to keep the open wound clean. Since it is exposed to open air, the wound is susceptible to infection (always seek out medical attention for any leg ulcer) –
- Use a mild soap and water to clean the wound
- Change the dressing daily
- Keep the affected area dry to promote healing
In most cases, open wounds on legs are treatable, provided you are proactive and seek timely treatment. If neglected, the ulcer can advance, and infection can reach the bone. To avoid this, it is essential that you see a board-certified vascular surgeon.