What is a Chronic Leg Ulcer?

A leg ulcer is generally categorized as a rip or break within the skin on a patient’s leg where bacteria is able to grow. While many leg ulcers are caused by minor injury and will heal up pretty quickly, if there are deeper rooted issues within the skin the ulcer can actually increase in size and become chronic. This can be very dangerous as it leaves the patient with an open wound that is susceptible to a wide array of bacterial growth and contamination.

What makes leg ulcers chronic? At the root of approximately two thirds of all chronic leg ulcers are venous diseases, including varicose veins. When the veins in your legs become damaged and are unable to successfully produce blood flow through their valves they can begin to clot, a condition that’s referred to as thrombosis. This can put strain on both the veins and the surrounding skin.

In the case of varicose veins specifically, damaged valves cause blood to flow backward, leading to swollen veins and increased blood pressure. This pressure causes excess strain on the skin, resulting in damage that leaves it susceptible to ulcers.

How can I prevent leg ulcers? Taking care of your veins is your best defense from leg ulcers. That means, daily moisturizing, wearing compression stockings regularly and elevating your legs to alleviate pressure. In addition, certain small lifestyle changes can go a long way, like getting fit, eating healthy and refraining from smoking, as it increases blood pressure.

Most importantly, if you’re suffering from varicose veins, or any other venous conditions, it’s crucial to have them examined and treated by a vascular professional as soon as possible.

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