Poor circulation in your lower legs can cause painful open wounds called leg ulcers to develop. Without treatment, these ulcers can expand into deeper tissue, become infected, and cause systemic problems like sepsis (a life-threatening infection in your bloodstream).
If you’ve developed open sores on your lower legs, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible. If you have diabetes or suspect you’re suffering from localized infections, you might need urgent treatment. When treatment is sought early, you have a good chance of recovering fully with no lasting complications.
You’re at higher risk of developing venous insufficiency ulcers in your legs if you have poor circulation, varicose veins, lymphedema, or any combination of the three. Smoking, high cholesterol, heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes also increase your risk.
Lymphedema causes include cancer treatment and heredity problems that impact the health of your lymphatic tissue.
If you have diabetic neuropathy, you may not experience pain associated with leg ulcers. It’s important to check your lower legs and feet frequently for new sores or problems. Signs and symptoms of venous insufficiency ulcers include a heavy feeling in your legs, pain, swelling/water retention, open wounds, discoloration of the skin, and visible abnormalities of your veins.
You might have an infected ulcer if you have a fever, there is pus or fluid draining from the wound, the skin around the wound is red or warm to the touch, or the area is very tender and painful. If you notice any of these signs of infection, you should seek treatment from a vein doctor right away.
Treatment varies from patient to patient depending on the cause of the ulcers, the severity of the wounds, and the presence or absence of infection.
If the wound or wounds are infected, a culture may be taken and antibiotics will likely be prescribed to fight the infection. Next, your vein specialist will work to promote healing; this might require debriding, topical medications, compression bandages, and in some cases, an orthotic device to keep pressure off the skin. Sometimes aspirin or other blood thinners might be incorporated into your treatment plan to prevent blood clots.
Finally, your vein doctor will focus on improving circulation to your lower legs to prevent future ulcers from developing. This might include laser treatment, injections, and lifestyle changes.
Vein doctors in Florida
Vein911 has four Florida locations for your convenience: Tampa, St. Petersburg, Largo, and Palm Harbor. Dr. Chris Pittman and the team of experts at Vein911 are dedicated to helping patients improve their vascular health through minimally-invasive, pain-free procedures. To learn more, visit our website today.