Treating & Preventing Venous Ulcers
It is estimated that approximately one in 50 people over the age of 80 has a venous ulcer. Do you know what to be on the lookout for and what to do if you suspect you are developing one?
You may be at a higher risk than you think. The board certified vascular surgeons of Bronson Cardiothoracic, Vascular & Endovascular Specialists provide these tips to explain what the condition is, how you can better protect yourself from developing it and how it can be treated.
What are venous ulcers?
Venous ulcers are long-lasting sores on your body that can cause severe pain. They most often grow on the inside of the leg, just above the ankle. Venous ulcer is a shallow wound that develops when the leg veins do not return blood back toward the heart the way they are supposed to (called venous insufficiency).
What causes a venous ulcer to form?
Venous ulcers can be caused by a number of different things, including:
- Certain medicines
- Failure of valves in the veins of your leg
- Kidney failure
- Poor blood flow
- Pressure caused from lying in one position for too long
- Other medical conditions such as high cholesterol, heart disease, high blood pressure or bowel disorders
What are some common symptoms of a venous ulcer?
Common symptoms of a venous ulcer include:
- Aching or swelling in your legs
- Discolored or darkened skin around the ulcer
- Hardened skin around the ulcer
- Heavy feeling in your legs
- Red, flaky, scaly and itchy skin
- Swollen and enlarged veins
- Swollen ankles
- Unpleasant smelling discharge from the ulcer
What are the risk factors for developing a venous ulcer?
There are a number of lifestyle factors that can increase your risk including:
- Not moving for a long period of time
- Obesity or being overweight
- Previous injury to the leg
- Previous surgery to the leg
- Previously having deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
- Varicose veins
Who should I contact if I think I have a venous ulcer?
You should reach out to your primary care provider right away if you suspect you may have a venous ulcer. Venous ulcers are very unlikely to get better on their own and often require medical treatment by a specialist. Your provider may recommend an appointment with a wound or vascular specialist at Bronson Cardiothoracic, Vascular & Endovascular Specialists.
Brandy Piper, our vascular nurse navigator, can be a great resource to you. She can help you make sure you receive all the services we can provide and offer explanations when you need them. She can be reached at (269) 341-6906 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The board certified vascular surgeons at Bronson Cardiothoracic, Vascular & Endovascular Specialists, perform vascular and endovascular surgery for conditions involving disorders of the blood vessels. For more information about our practice and providers, visit bronsonhealth.com/heart or call (269) 341-7333.