How Are Leg Ulcers Diagnosed
- A physical examination is the most common way to diagnose it.
- A doppler machine can also be used to diagnose leg ulcers based on the blood supply to your legs.
- In some cases, your doctor may refer you to a vascular specialist if he is not able to confirm your condition.
Once you are diagnosed with leg ulcers, you tend to look for different options to treat the condition. And what could be better than being able to do so naturally? Listed below are some of the best home remedies that can help you in treating leg ulcers naturally.
What You Have To Do
How Often You Should Do This
Do this 2-3 times daily.
Why This Works
Aloe vera is a therapeutic herb that is widely used to treat various ailments. It is extremely effective in healing leg ulcers as it not only inhibits the growth of bacteria but also prevents further infection . It contains compounds like anthraquinones and certain hormones that are said to render wound healing properties to it .
What You Have To Do
How Often You Should Do This
Do this at least 2-3 times daily.
Why This Works
What You Have To Do
How Often You Should Do This
What Treatment Might I Be Offered
Compression therapy if your wound isnt healing because of venous hypertension and there are no problems with the arterial blood supply to your legs, then you should be offered compression therapy. Compression therapy usually works very effectively and helps wounds to heal fast. It is thus essential to find a compression regime that is comfortable, provides the level of support you need and works. If this is inconsistently used or applied, this must be dealt with so that healing is not delayed
Compression therapy improves blood supply by applying pressure to the leg. This can be done by bandaging the lower leg or by wearing supportive socks, stockings or tights. To begin with it can be a little uncomfortable when you first start treatment but should not cause you any pain it should feel supportive to your leg. Any discomfort should reduce as the swelling goes down. If you do experience discomfort, talk to your nurse or doctor about it and they will advise you on ways of alleviating this.
What Causes Foot And Toe Ulcers How Do You Get An Ulcer
There are many possible causes. The most common include:
- Neuropathy from diabetes.
- Peripheral arterial disease.
- Deformed toes.
- Walking in an odd way where you put too much pressure on one part of your foot or toe.
- Friction. Your foot or toe may rub against the toebox of your shoe.
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Open Sores On Legs That Wont Heal: Causes & Natural Treatment
An open sore on leg is an area of skin that is damaged below the knee. Sores or skin ulcers that are present for more than 6 weeks without healing are called non healing skin ulcers. They are often observed on legs as compared to other parts of body. These ulcers may be painful or without pain. The affected leg is swollen. One or both the legs may be affected.
When present on legs open sores are primarily found on the inner side of leg below the knee and above the ankle.
There are ranges of condition which can cause open sores on leg that do not heal easily. They primarily occur due to stagnation of venous blood, narrowing of artery affecting blood circulation or due to involvement of nerves in diseases such as diabetes and leprosy. Open sores on leg seen and attended in their early stage can be treated much more easily rather than those which become large after a period of time.
Further Developments In Curing Venous Leg Ulcers:
Developments since have been equally valuable. There is still no easy way of treating deep valve failure. Conversely, we treat superficial valve failure with ablation. Introduced into the UK in 1999 by Mark Whiteley, the ablation of superficial venous reflux is highly successful even in the long term. We have now shown our 15 year success rates in a study published from The Whiteley Clinic.
This is excellent news for our patients at The Whiteley Clinic.
Provided the patient can walk, most are now curable.
Research has continued. Deep vein reflux is usually secondary to a deep vein obstruction at a higher level. Placing an expandable metal tube called a Stent through such obstructions, opens them up and holds them open. Therefore in many cases, even deep vein problems are now curable.
As such, no patient who can walk should ever accept long-term dressings and compression for a leg ulcer unless they have been fully investigated by an expert team.
If you want to know more about venous leg ulcers and how they can be cured permanently, see Leg Ulcer Treatment Revolution published in November 2018. This is available on and in good bookshops.
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How Do You Treat An Ulcer
An untreated ulcer can lead to serious problems — including the need for amputation. If you think you have an ulcer, see your doctor right away. The sooner you get treatment, the less likely you are to have another problem.
Your doctor will examine your skin and may take an X-ray to see if your ulcer has affected the nearest bone. In some cases, your doctor may use other tests to see if you have blood vessel disease.
Next, your doctor will treat your ulcer with a procedure called debridement. Here, the doctor removes unhealthy tissue from the wound to start the healing process. Your doctor may prescribe medications, such as antibiotics, that you swallow or rub on the sore.
Talk to your doctor about how to care for your ulcer at home. You might need to:
- Clean your ulcer daily with soap and water. Dont use hydrogen peroxide or soak your wound in a bath or whirlpool. This can discourage healing and increase your risk of infection.
- Keep your ulcer bandaged or covered with a wound dressing. Your doctor may recommend specific bandaging steps. Airing out a wound increases your odds of infection and slows healing.
- Apply medications such as saline, skin substitutes, and substances that make skin cells grow.
- Take better care of other health problems, such as diabetes or vascular disease.
- Keep pressure off your ulcer, especially if its on your foot.
You might need crutches, special footwear, a brace, or other devices to reduce pressure and irritation so your ulcer heals faster.
What Are The Symptoms
Skin ulcers look like round, open sores. They range in severity and are usually minor injuries on the skin.
In severe cases, ulcers can become deep wounds that extend through muscle tissue, leaving bones and joints exposed.
The symptoms of skin ulcers include:
- discoloration of the skin
People can develop the following types of skin ulcer:
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Controlling Pressure In The Leg Veins
Controlling swelling is essential for patients with venous leg ulcers. Leg elevation, with the feet at or above the level of the heart, several times throughout the day and while sleeping, can help reduce swelling. Compression wraps or bandages are often applied to the legs. These can be changed as often as multiple times a day or as infrequently as once a week, depending on the amount of fluid draining from the ulcer. Once the leg ulcer is smaller or nearly healed, elastic compression stockings may be recommended. Compression stockings are sized to fit the legs and are typically put on in the morning and worn throughout the day. A venous pump may be prescribed for patients with severe swelling.
What Are The Symptoms Of A Venous Leg Ulcer
The most common symptom of a venous leg ulcer is a wound that doesnt heal and is irregularly shaped with dry, hard skin around the outside. Other symptoms include:
- swelling, especially around the ankle of your affected leg
- aching legs
- clear discharge.
Venous leg ulcers are at risk of becoming infected because theyre slow to heal. Signs of an infected leg ulcer include:
- increased pain
- an increase in swelling and redness around the wound.
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Side Effects Of Leg Ulcers
- A green and foul-smelling discharge from the ulcers
- The skin around the ulcers begins to swell
- The sores become bigger
- Inflamed skin around the ulcers
The fear of developing these complications is enough for you to try and battle these nasty-looking sores at the earliest. Taking the necessary precautions and using the remedies mentioned above on a daily basis, without fail, should help heal leg ulcers pretty fast. Nevertheless, you must see your doctor immediately if the ulcers on your leg seem non-healing or worsen in their appearance. Try the remedies listed in the article and let us know if they worked for you.
What Should I Do If I Think I Might Have A Leg Ulcer
If you have any concerns about the condition of your legs, even if you dont have exactly the same symptoms as described above, its important to seek advice. If you have a wound or sore that isnt healing, make an appointment at your GP practice as it could turn into or be the beginnings of a leg ulcer. You might be given an appointment to see the nurse rather than the doctor as nurses are often responsible for caring for patients with leg problems.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Leg Ulcers
The main symptom of a leg ulcer is a deep sore on the leg. You might also have:
- bad-smelling fluid weeping from the wound
- injury to the leg
- an infection
How Venous Ulcers Develop
Leg ulcers caused by a vein problem , begin when valves inside your leg veins weaken and stop working. These valves normally keep blood flowing in one direction: up your legs and toward your heart.
When the valves weaken, some blood flows back down your leg, causing a condition called venous insufficiency. As the refluxing blood accumulates, the vein enlarges and the blood pressure in your lower leg rises.
High venous pressure forces fluids out of the veins. Then the fluids break down the skin and surrounding tissues, causing an ulcer. Venous ulcers usually appear around your ankle, but they can affect any part of your lower leg.
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What Causes Skin Ulcers
Different skin ulcers have different underlying causes, which range from poor circulation to bacterial infections.
At first, a skin ulcer might look like mild skin irritation or a slightly discolored patch of skin. Over time, the skin tissue will begin to disintegrate, forming a shallow wound.
Treatment for skin ulcers depends on the severity and the underlying cause of the ulcer.
A person can treat a skin ulcer at home if it is small and does not show signs of infection. Treatments for mild ulcers focus on preventing infection. Keep the ulcer clean and covered, if it is not leaking.
Signs of an infected ulcer include swelling, pain, drainage, or a foul odor. People who notice any of these symptoms require medical attention.
Treating a severe ulcer involves:
- removing dead tissue to stimulate the healing process
- using oral or topical antibiotics to treat any bacterial infection
- taking pain medication to relieve discomfort
Poor circulation is a major contributing factor to skin ulcer development. Improving proper circulation can help treat and prevent ulcers.
Some ways that may improve circulation and prevent ulcers include:
- wearing compression stockings
If a person does not receive treatment, skin ulcers can progress into chronic wounds or dangerous infections.
Some complications of untreated skin ulcers include:
People may be able to reduce the symptoms of mild skin ulcers and the risk of infections and complications with the following home remedies:
How Are Foot And Toe Ulcers Treated
The goal of treating a foot or toe ulcer is to relieve pain and heal your wound. Your treatment plan will be individualized based on what medical condition is causing your ulcers. If you cant correct the cause of your ulcer, its likely to come back after treatment.
There are both surgical and nonsurgical treatments for foot and toe ulcers. For simple, early stage foot and toe ulcers, nonsurgical treatments may work. Ulcers that are more advanced, especially ones that are infected, may require surgery.
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Symptoms Of Venous Leg Ulcers
Venous leg ulcers are open, often painful, sores in the skin that take more than a month to heal. They usually develop on the inside of the leg, just above the ankle.
If you have a venous leg ulcer, you may also have:
- swollen ankles
- discolouration and darkening of the skin around the ulcer
- hardened skin around the ulcer, which may make your leg feel hard or even resemble the shape of an upside-down champagne bottle
- a heavy feeling in your legs
- aching or swelling in your legs
- red, flaky, scaly and itchy skin on your legs
- swollen and enlarged veins on your legs
- an unpleasant and foul-smelling discharge from the ulcer
What Is The Treatment For A Venous Leg Ulcer
A venous leg ulcer usually wont get better without treatment from a healthcare professional. The aim of treatment is to make sure the wound heals while providing relief from symptoms such as pain in and swelling of your affected leg.
Your GP may recommend specialist wound care and compression therapy to help with healing. Treatment will usually be done by a district nurse who is specifically trained to manage leg ulcers.
Compression therapy applies pressure to your affected leg, which reduces the amount of blood pooling in the veins and helps to redirect the blood flow to your heart. It can help to reduce swelling and encourages delivery of oxygen and nutrients, critical for healing, to the wound.
Your GP may consider referral to a vascular surgeon to discuss a minimally invasive procedure for varicose veins. This will reduce the risk of recurrent ulcers.
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Caring For Venous Ulcers
Venous ulcers need proper care and treatment to prevent infection and to heal. It’s important to have any venous ulcers checked right away by your healthcare provider.
Treatment may require focusing on the circulatory or vein problems that are causing the ulcers. Or it may mean removing some tissue around the wound. You may be asked to:
Clean the wound regularly
Apply a dressing to the ulcer
Avoid products that cause skin sensitivity
Wear compression stockings to prevent blood from pooling in the legs and to speed healing
Apply an antibacterial ointment or another topical medicine to prevent or treat an infection
Take oral antibiotic medicines to prevent or treat an infection
Have allergy testing done
Wearing a compression wrap to keep blood flowing back up to your heart can also help ulcers heal more quickly. In some cases, surgery or a skin graft is needed to close up the opening in the skin.
The Old Understanding Of Venous Leg Ulcers
Until the 1980s, most doctors and nurses had a clear understanding of the difference between venous leg ulcers and varicose veins.
Unfortunately, it turned out that they were wrong!
When valves failed in the superficial veins, they swelled on the surface causing varicose veins.
They believed that the deep veins could not be treated and so the only way to treat venous leg ulcers was to wrap the leg in compression bandages and dressings.
They also believed that the superficial veins caused no inflammation. Although they could be treated by varicose vein surgery, there was no need to do so as varicose veins were only cosmetic.
They believed in only 2 systems of veins in the legs the deep and superficial systems. The deep veins were in the muscles. The superficial veins in the fat under the skin.
When valves failed in the deep veins, this resulted in inflammation at the ankles. After a time, this inflammation would accumulate until the ankles swelled, the skin turned brown and leg ulcers appeared.
It is a great pity that many doctors and nurses still believe this, as it is totally incorrect.
This error has resulted in patients with leg ulcers failing to get the right treatment and ending up in compression for years. It also resulted in patients with varicose veins being left untreated, deteriorating towards complications such as leg ulcers in the future.
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Management Of The Ulcer
Despite considerable research, little evidence of major benefits from modern interactive dressings has been published. An emphasis on education, training, and further development of compression systems is needed to improve patient care and ulcer healing. The basis for effective treatment of venous leg ulcers is outlined in box 3.
How Diabetes Causes Ulcers
Diabetes typically causes ulcers on your foot. But diabetes also increases your risk of developing atherosclerosis, so you may end up with a leg ulcer, too.
High blood sugar damages small blood vessels and nerves. Nerve damage causes numbness, so you dont notice small cuts, scrapes, and pressure sores on your foot. Then diminished blood flow hinders healing, turning a minor cut into a nonhealing ulcer.
The best way to prevent a diabetic ulcer is to check your feet every day, looking for signs of a cut or abrasion. If you notice a problem, get medical care right away to ensure the wound heals.
If you have questions about leg ulcers or symptoms you may have, contact us today at our Memphis, Tennessee, office.
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