What are Leg Ulcers?
Commonly found in older people, venous leg ulcers are open wounds or unhealed sores that can be very painful. Without adequate treatment, these ulcers can continue to recur, and are most commonly found in females, although they can affect men or women of any age.
With venous ulcers causing the loss of as many as two million working days per year, and the condition accounting for 70 percent to 90 percent of ulcers discovered on the lower leg, it’s imperative to seek help for leg ulcers in Tampa, FL if you believe you may have the condition. When treated early, leg ulcers can be healed successfully without causing further complications.
Causes of Leg Ulcers
The likelihood of developing leg ulcers increases with age, and the condition is often hereditary. Other causes of leg ulcers include:
- Increased leg pressure
- Kidney disease
- Heart disease
- High cholesterol
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Poor blood circulation
In addition to the above, varicose veins are often associated with the onset of leg ulcers, however, the two conditions are not always found together.
Leg Ulcer Symptoms
As with many other illnesses, the symptoms of venous disease can vary depending on their cause. Some people feel no pain from the ulcers, and this is most commonly found in individuals with nerve damage through diabetes. Other people may find that their leg ulcers cause them considerable pain.
If you’re suffering from any of the following symptoms, it’s crucial for you to visit your Tampa, FL vein specialist:
- Generalized heaviness or pain in your legs
- Enlarged veins
- Leg swelling
- Open sores
- Pus in the affected area
- Pain in the affected area
- Increasing wound size
Leg Ulcer Treatment
Once your vein doctor has examined you and diagnosed you as suffering from venous leg ulcers, it’s crucial to begin treatment as soon as possible. Early intervention relieves pain, stops the wound from getting bigger, as well as prevents infection.
If your ulcers are found to be infected, you will be treated with antibiotics to minimize the risk of complications. You will also be given compression bandages to help prevent infection, bring down the swelling, and to close the wound.
If your leg ulcers are particularly severe, you may be given braces to help you walk better, and to prevent future ulcers from developing. You may also be advised to take aspirin to prevent blood clots from forming in your legs.
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:
- Wearing compression stockings or bandages to help improve circulation
- Keeping leg raised to help improve blood circulation
- Cleaning the wound
- Surgical options to improve circulation
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE FOR A LEG ULCER TO HEAL?
The length of time it will take for your leg ulcer to heal will depend upon the size of the wound, the type of treatment that is used, and what is causing the ulcer. For a small-sized wound, it could take anywhere from six to ten weeks for it to heal. A larger wound could take several months or over a year to heal. Learn more here.
In the vast majority of cases, early treatment will ensure you have no complications, such as an infection that can potentially spread into your bone. For this reason, it’s imperative to see us here at Vein 911 in Tampa, FL, if you believe you may have the condition. Dr. Chris Pittman is Board Certified in Vascular and Interventional Radiology, Diagnostic Radiology, and Diplomate of the American Board of Venous and Lymphatic Medicine and he can help you. Contact us at 885-396-8854 or complete our online form. Vein 911 has locations in Tampa and St. Petersburg.