Leg Ulcers: How to Relieve the Pain at Home

Blog Post
By South Valley Vascular
August 16, 2021

Patients most often present with either of the two main types of leg ulcers: venous or arterial. Less frequently, people suffering from diabetes can develop neuropathic ulcers as a result of unstable blood sugar. 

Most often associated with varicose veins, venous ulcers make up the lion’s share of leg ulcers with 85% of diagnoses. These ulcers take a long time to heal, and it is a painful process. Worse still, 75% of these painful ulcers will reoccur. Home treatment and surgical intervention can help ease the pain associated with these types of wounds. 

Treating Leg Ulcers At Home

Ulcers on the leg can be very painful. Treating them at home can help reduce healing time and discomfort. It’s very important to keep the wound clean, bandaged, and dry. This helps to curb the risk of infection given the extended healing time. Following your physician’s directives for changing the bandages can help aid in healing. 

Patients should be careful to properly maintain bandaged leg ulcers. If the skin around the wound gets too wet, this can cause the ulcer to expand into these healthy tissues. Expansion of these painful wounds may require more involved treatment protocols. 

Wearing compression socks daily can help support lower extremity blood circulation, speeding up the healing process. The compression can also help reduce pain and swelling. Keeping active and elevating the ulcer above the heart can also aid in healing because it promotes good circulation. 

One out of twenty diabetes patients experience neuropathic ulcers each year. Neuropathic ulcers call for even more treatment interventions to encourage healing. Since they are most often caused by uncontrolled blood sugar, adhering to a diabetes maintenance plan is key. These ulcers are frequently located on the foot instead of the lower leg. As a result, avoiding pressure on the wound requires that the patient avoid walking and other activity unless absolutely necessary. 

Surgical Intervention

Unlike venous and arterial ulcers, neuropathic ulcers are more likely to require the expertise of a surgeon. Conservative treatments begin with specially designed footwear and other medical equipment to reduce pressure on the wound. Surgical intervention may be necessary for patients whose ulcers won’t heal with more conservative approaches. In the most extreme cases, foot amputation may be necessary. This only occurs in one percent of cases. 

Preventing Leg Ulcers

Avoiding the pain and inconvenience of leg ulcers can improve the quality of life for patients who are at risk of developing them. Maintaining an active lifestyle and a healthy weight can help reduce the risk of leg ulcers for patients with chronic illnesses like high blood pressure and diabetes. Smoking increases the likelihood that patients with poor circulation in their lower extremities will develop leg ulcers. As a result, avoiding smoking can also reduce the incidence of this painful condition. 

The specialists at South Valley Vascular are here to help you resolve your leg and foot ulcers regardless of the underlying cause. Conservative treatment methods are our preference until your condition commands a more aggressive approach. We have experience with debridement and dressing ulcers. And as a last resort, our surgeons can use amputation as a treatment for ulcers that won’t heal. Visit our website to schedule a consultation.