Leg Ulcer Treatment: What are the Options?

Blog Post
By South Valley Vascular
January 3, 2023

A leg ulcer can be extremely painful and sometimes result in an infection. Leg ulcers are often associated with other health problems, such as varicose veins or Deep Vein Thrombosis. Other health factors are also associated with an increased risk of leg ulcers. While not extremely common, anyone can be affected by a leg ulcer.

If you have experienced a leg ulcer, you likely know how unpleasant it can be. Fortunately, leg ulcer treatment is readily available and highly effective. There are many ways you can treat a leg ulcer, from at-home remedies to surgical treatment. Here is everything you should know about identifying venous leg ulcers and leg ulcer treatment.

What Causes Leg Ulcers?

A leg ulcer is a wound or sore on the leg that lasts for a very long time. They are usually categorized as lasting longer than two weeks. Leg ulcers are painful and also cause itching and swelling on the leg. In severe cases, the skin may also harden and emit a discharge. Leg ulcers can be identified by pain, discoloration, red or flaky skin, swelling in the ankle, or a “heavy” feeling in your leg.

If you notice the pain becoming increasingly worse or a foul-smelling discharge, it could be a sign of infection. If this is the case, you should seek medical treatment as soon as possible.

Venous deficiencies are the most common cause of leg ulcers. This means people with conditions such as varicose veins are at a higher risk than the general population. Some people may also experience a leg ulcer following surgery if their veins have been damaged.

Venous Leg Ulcer Treatment

While venous leg ulcers are never pleasant, they can be treated. The first step to treating a leg ulcer is cleaning the wound. Cleaning the wound and applying ointments or dressings as prescribed can begin to relieve the wound. A doctor can prescribe these remedies for a leg ulcer, but most patients can clean their ulcers on their own.

Improving circulation is also an important step in treating a leg ulcer. Because venous leg ulcers are caused by poor circulation, many doctors will recommend compression for the affected leg. Compression stockings are used to treat several vein disorders and can also be used in leg ulcer treatments.

Other steps you can take to treat a leg ulcer involve simple, everyday habits. Keeping your legs elevated when lying down helps improve your circulation, for instance. This can also reduce pain and swelling.

Remaining active also helps circulation, speeds up the healing process, and reduces pain. Your doctor might recommend light leg or foot exercises to keep you from sitting or standing still for long periods.

Venous Leg Ulcer Treatment Surgery

For patients at the greatest risk of venous leg ulcers, surgery may also be a treatment option. Performing surgery on a leg ulcer directly is rare and reserved only for emergency cases. Venous leg ulcer treatment surgery, however, can be used to treat the underlying conditions which cause leg ulcers.

Endovenous laser treatment is a common surgery used to treat vascular diseases like varicose veins. While this procedure does not heal ulcers directly, it can eliminate the root cause of venous leg ulcers.

If you suffer from any vascular disorder, you are likely at greater risk of experiencing a leg ulcer. If this is the case, seeking preemptive treatment can reduce the chances of developing a leg ulcer. If you would like to learn more about vascular health and treatment, consider scheduling a consultation with South Valley Vascular. With four convenient locations, South Valley Vascular is one of California’s most trusted resources for vascular health.