The appearance of a small wound on your foot or leg may not seem like a big deal, but it could be if the wound doesn’t heal properly or if an underlying condition prevents the wound from healing. Wounds on the leg or foot that do not properly heal are called leg ulcers and if they aren’t properly treated they could result in the loss of limb.

Learning how to properly identify when a wound has turned into a leg ulcer and in need of medical treatment can help you reduce your risk of needing an amputation.

Taking a Closer Look at Leg Ulcers: What They Are, Symptoms, and Who is at Risk for Them

Usually, when a small break or tear occurs to the skin the body will start the natural healing process. Unfortunately, that doesn’t happen for everyone.

For some people an underlying problem, such as diabetes, lymphedema and venous insufficiency, causes the body to be unable to properly heal the wound. Since the wound in unable to heal, it increases in size. The bigger the wound gets, the more likely it is to get infected or cause other problems.

A leg or foot wound that doesn’t naturally heal in two weeks, the approximately time it takes a wound to naturally heal, it is classified as an ulcer. Most ulcers will require medical treatment as they usually do not heal on their own. Failing to get medical treatment can cause the ulcer to get worse and increase the likelihood that an amputation may be needed.

Common symptoms of a leg ulcer include:

Anyone is at risk of developing a leg ulcer. However, the following people have a higher risk of developing ulcers:

How are Leg Ulcers Treated?

Treating a leg ulcer is a two part process. The first part of the process is to clean the wound and bandage it so it can start to heal. The second part of the treatment process is identifying and treating any underlying causes of the ulcer so it doesn’t happen again in the future.

Treatment for ulcers will vary on a case-by-case basis, but typically include the following:

Have a Leg Ulcer? Seeking Treatment Reduces Your Risk of Amputation

Prompt treatment of leg ulcers can dramatically reduce your risk of amputation. If you notice that an ulcer is developing on your leg or foot, call Vein 911 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Chris Pittman.

Amputation is a last resort treatment option for Dr. Pittman. When creating treatment plans for patients with leg or foot ulcers, he will provide a number of viable limb-sparing treatment options. Some treatment options that may be recommended for leg and foot ulcers by Dr. Pittman include use of modern novel therapies, medications, and in extreme cases surgical technologies.

Dr. Pittman doesn’t just focus on treating ulcers, he also focuses on prevention. He will work to identify any underlying problems that may need to be treated to keep ulcers from coming back. He will also educate his patients on preventative measures they can take that will reduce their risk of developing future ulcers.

Call Vein 911 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Pittman.

A small wound on the inside of your leg may seem like it isn’t a big deal but it could be something more serious – a leg ulcer. Just like any open wound on the body, leg ulcers can become infected but how can you tell if an infection has formed?

There are various sign and symptoms that indicate that a leg ulcer is no longer just an open wound and has become infected.  If you have a history of leg ulcers or feel you at risk of developing one in the future, it is important that you learn how to tell if it becomes infected.

Understanding More about Leg Ulcers

Before you can learn how to identify if an ulcer has become infected, you must first learn how to tell if you even have a leg ulcer.

A leg ulcer, which is sometimes called a venous skin ulcer or a venous leg ulcer, is an open wound that is extremely slow to heal. Most open wounds will start to show signs of healing within a week, but a venous skin ulcer either won’t heal at all or is extremely slow to heal.

The reason why a venous skin ulcer won’t heal is that the blood that circulates to the wounded area is weak. Without access to blood, which is rich in nutrients and oxygen which helps with the healing process, the wound is unable to heal in a timely manner.

An open wound that appears on the inside of the leg near the ankle is the first sign that you may have a leg ulcer. Other symptoms of leg ulcers include:

People who are at risk of developing leg ulcers include:

Symptoms of an Infected Leg Ulcer

Leg ulcers, because they are open wounds, are extremely susceptible to infections. If the wound becomes infected you may experience some of the following symptoms:

How are Infected Leg Ulcers Treated?

The first step in treating an infected leg ulcer is to get rid of the infection. An antibiotic will usually be prescribed to treat the infection. Sometimes the wound may need to be medically cleaned in order to remove any dirt or bacteria that is in the wound.

In addition to treating the infection, your healthcare team will focus on improving circulation, preventing future infections, and healing the open wound. Other common treatment recommendations include:

Getting proper treatment for a leg ulcer can help prevent it from becoming infected. If you suspect a wound on your leg may be a leg ulcer, call Vein911 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Chris Pittman.

Dr. Pittman can help with the diagnosis and treatment of leg ulcers. He is also experienced in treating other venous problems include varicose veins, finding the cause of lymphedema, and DVT. Call the office today to schedule an appointment.