Treatment For Leg Ulcers
- cleaning the wound using wet and dry dressings and ointments, or surgery to remove the dead tissue
- specialised dressings a whole range of products are available to help the various stages of wound healing. Dressings are changed less often these days, because frequent dressing changes remove healthy cells as well
- occlusive dressings ulcers heal better when they are covered. These dressings should be changed weekly
- compression treatment boosts internal pressure, using either elasticised bandages or stockings. This is particularly effective if multiple layers are used
- medication includes pain-relieving medication and oral antibiotics if infection is present
- supplements there is evidence that leg ulcers may heal faster with mineral and vitamin supplements, but only if the person suffers from a deficiency. Zinc, iron and vitamin C may be used
- skin graft is a surgical procedure, where healthy skin is grafted onto the prepared wound site
- skin cancer and infection if ulcers fail to heal or if they increase in size, both these conditions will need to be ruled out
- hyperbaric oxygen this is now an accepted treatment for ulcers that resist other methods of healing, such as diabetic ulcers.
Signs Of An Infection
A venous leg ulcer can be susceptible to bacterial infection. Symptoms of an infected leg ulcer can include:
- worsening pain
A number of factors can increase your risk of developing a venous leg ulcer, including:
- obesity or being overweight this increases the pressure in the leg veins
- if you have difficulty walking this can weaken the calf muscles, which can affect circulation in the leg veins
- previous deep vein thrombosis blood clots that develop in the leg can damage valves in the veins
- varicose veins swollen and enlarged veins caused by malfunctioning valves
- previous injury to the leg, such as a broken or fractured bone, which may cause DVT or impair walking
- previous surgery to the leg, such as a hip replacement or knee replacement, which can prevent you from moving about
- increasing age people find it harder to move around as they get older, particularly if they suffer from arthritis
Simple And Effective Home Remedies To Cure Leg Ulcers
1. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is a medicinal plant that is used to cure a variety of diseases. It is highly successful in the treatment of leg ulcers since it not only suppresses bacterial development but also prevents infection. It contains substances such as anthraquinones and hormones that are believed to have wound-healing effects.
Make a small incision in an aloe vera leaf.Remove the jelly-like material off the leaves using a scraper.Apply the gel immediately on your leg ulcers.
How Often Should You Do This?Do this 2-3 times a day.
Honey has traditionally been used to treat wounds because of its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. It reduces swelling and discomfort, and its wound-healing qualities help ulcers heal faster. Honey is antimicrobial and can help prevent ulcers from becoming infected again.
Apply a little amount of organic honey to your fingertips.Apply it carefully to your leg ulcers and leave it on.Wash it off with water after 10-15 minutes.
How Often Should You Do This?Do this 2-3 times a day.
3. Coconut Oil
The amazing coconut oil has antibacterial properties as it contains fatty acids like lauric acid. We are certain that by applying some coconut oil to the afflicted region, you would see positive results.
Ingredients required:1-2 tbsp virgin coconut oil.
Instructions:Apply a small amount of virgin coconut oil to your leg sores.
How Often Should You Do This?Do this twice daily.
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Diabetic Wound Care: 6 Ways To Treat Diabetic Foot Ulcers
Neuropathic ulcers, often caused by diabetes, are slow to healeven more so as patients age, if they have longer-term diabetes, or if theyre smokers. Other factors that may stall healing include hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, and abnormal blood sugar levels, often associated with diabetes.
Diabetic ulcers typically occur below the ankle at any site of pressure, friction, shear, or trauma. The wound is likely to be round, with margins often characterized by a periwound callus. The presence of diabetes increases the risk for infection.
Treating neuropathic/diabetic ulcers can be challenging, so be sure to take the following steps to simplify the process and help improve outcomes:
Medical History And Examination
Your GP or practice nurse will ask whether you have any other symptoms associated with venous leg ulcers, such as:
- swelling in your ankles
- discoloured or hard skin
They’ll try to determine the cause of the ulcer by asking about underlying conditions or previous injuries, such as:
Read more about how venous leg ulcers are treated.
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What Are Leg Ulcers
Leg ulcers are sores that develop on broken or injured skin. Usually, they are more prominent right above the ankles, on the inner side of your legs.
Other than skin injuries, leg ulcers may also develop as a result of an underlying medical condition. The diseases which may lead to the development of leg ulcers are discussed briefly below.
Leg Ulcers: How To Relieve The Pain At Home
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 lionâs 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.
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Risk Factors For Leg Ulcers
- Age peripheral circulation becomes less efficient with old age.
- Varicose veins the one-way valves that stop blood from travelling backwards in the vein stop working. The pooling of blood stretches and distorts the vein.
- Cigarette smoking tobacco is known to constrict the vessels of the circulatory system.
- Arterial disease vein problems are more likely if the person already has other diseases of the arteries.
- Certain disorders these include diabetes and arthritis.
- Pressure sores bed-bound people are at risk of pressure sores, which are areas of damage to the skin caused by constant pressure or friction.
- Medication some cardiovascular medications can contribute to leg oedema and altered circulation.
Wound Dressing And Care
A venous leg ulcer is an open sore that can catch an infection from microbes very quickly. It is important to keep it clean at all times. Advanced Wound Care Dressings can help keep them free from infection as well as aid in faster wound healing. After dead tissue is removed and the wound is cleaned, it should be covered with a light, wound healing dressing. This can be easily done at home by following the instructions of a wound specialist regarding the method of cleaning and the number of dressings required.
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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.
Although they dont cause ulcers, foot and toe ulcers are often found alongside toe deformities such as hammertoe, mallet toe and clawtoe.
Looking After Yourself During Treatment
The following advice may help your ulcer heal more quickly.
- Try to keep active by walking regularly. Sitting and standing still without elevating your legs can make venous leg ulcers and swelling worse.
- Whenever you’re sitting or lying down, keep your affected leg elevated.
- Regularly exercise your legs by moving your feet up and down, and rotating them at the ankles. This can help encourage better circulation.
- If you’re overweight, try to reduce your weight with a healthy diet and regular exercise.
- Stop smoking and moderate your alcohol consumption. This can help the ulcer heal faster.
- Be careful not to injure your affected leg, and wear comfortable, well-fitting footwear.
You may also find it helpful to attend a local healthy leg club, such as those provided by the Lindsay Leg Club Foundation, for support and advice.
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How Are Leg Ulcers Treated
Leg ulcers can be challenging to eliminate. Even with treatment, wounds can persist for months or sometimes years.
Treatments vary depending on the ulcer type and cause. Your healthcare provider will focus on healing the wound, reducing swelling and preventing the ulcer from coming back as it heals.
Leg ulcer treatments include:
- Compression therapy with stockings or bandages to stimulate blood flow to the legs.
- Leg elevation above the heart for one hour a day for at least six days.
- Wound care, including debridement , topical antiseptics to prevent infection and regular bandage changes.
- Antibiotics to treat infections and medications to open blood vessels and improve blood flow .
- Hyperbaric oxygen therapy to get more oxygen into the blood and speed healing.
- Sclerotherapy or endovascular ablation to treat varicose veins.
- Surgery to remove, repair, replace or bypass a damaged vein.
- Skin grafts for wounds larger than 4 inches or ulcers that dont heal with other treatments.
Elevate Legs And Increase Activity
The lower extremities should be elevated to decrease fluid buildup in the legs and feet, and discourage further ulcers from forming. According to MedlinePlus, legs should be positioned about the level of the heart. Frequent rest periods throughout the day are ideal. Still, gradual activity should also be added to a persons daily routine to increase circulation to the leg ulcer. Walking, gardening or light stretching exercises aid in the leg ulcer healing. A patient should speak to a medical doctor before starting any exercise program, especially if he has lived a sedentary lifestyle.
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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:
Causes Of Venous Ulcers
Venous ulcers most often form around the ankles.
Venous ulcers typically occur because of damage to the valves inside the leg veins. These valves control the blood pressure inside the veins. They allow it to drop when you walk. If the blood pressure inside your leg veins doesn’t fall as you’re walking, the condition is called sustained venous hypertension. That increase in blood pressure causes ulcers to form on your ankles.
Venous ulcers may also be caused by other problems with your leg veins. These include:
Varicose veins. These are large, bulging leg veins. They occur when valves in the leg veins dont work well, allowing blood to collect in the lower leg.
Chronic venous insufficiency. Like varicose veins, this condition occurs when your leg veins cant pump blood back up to your heart. Blood then pools in your lower legs, causing your legs to swell. Since the blood can’t flow well in your legs, the swelling may be extreme. This extreme swelling can put so much pressure on your skin that venous ulcers form.
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Does Cleaning Venous Leg Ulcers Help Them To Heal
Leg ulcers are open skin wounds that develop below the knee, usually because blood flow is poor in the lower leg. This can occur because of blockages, for example when small blood clots form in the veins. It can also happen when the valves in the veins that prevent blood from flowing backwards stop working properly. Poor blood flow damages the skin and tissue, and creates venous leg ulcers.
Ulcers are unsightly and may become painful or infected. On average, ulcers take from six to nine months to heal. However, some ulcers can take years to heal, and a small number never do. Once ulcers have healed, they can reoccur.
The main treatment for venous leg ulcers is to use bandages or stockings that compress the leg , to increase blood flow in the veins. It is also thought to be important to clean the wound. Different types of cleaning solutions can be used, including: normal saline water antiseptics detergents or disinfectants .
Cleaning solutions can be applied to the ulcer using a swab , a syringe with a needle, or a spray canister. Ulcers can also be bathed in the cleaning solution, using a basin or bucket, or during a shower. Cleaning can cause discomfort, and may be painful.
What did we want to find out?
We wanted to find out:
– whether cleaning venous leg ulcers helps them to become smaller and heal
– whether some cleaning solutions, or methods of applying solutions, are more effective than others
– how much cleaning wounds costs and
Referral To A Specialist
In some cases, your GP or nurse may decide to refer you to a specialist in conditions affecting the blood vessels .
For example, you may be referred to a vascular specialist if your GP or nurse is unsure about your diagnosis, or if they suspect your ulcer may be caused by artery diseases, diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis.
After taking your medical history and examining you, the vascular specialist may need to arrange further investigations to plan your treatment.
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Home Remedy Treatments For A Leg Ulcer
An ulcer on the leg is an open wound that has difficulty healing and is recurring. Causes of leg ulcers include poor circulation and diabetes, as well as valve and circulatory dysfunction. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the most common leg ulcers are venous stasis leg ulcers, which account for up to 90 percent of all ulcer cases. Venous stasis ulcers are found below the knee, slightly above the ankle on the back or side of the leg. Medical treatment may include antibiotic therapy and medications to prevent blood clots. After visiting a medical professional, a variety of home remedies and treatments may continue at home to encourage healing of the leg ulcer.
Swelling In The Legs And Ankles
Venous leg ulcers are often accompanied by swelling of your feet and ankles , which is caused by fluid. This can be controlled by compression bandages.
Keeping your leg elevated whenever possible, ideally with your toes above your hips, will also help ease swelling.
You should put a suitcase, sofa cushion or foam wedge under the bottom of your mattress to help keep your legs raised while you sleep.
You should also keep as active as possible and aim to continue with your normal activities.
Regular exercise, such as a daily walk, will help reduce leg swelling.
But you should avoid sitting or standing still with your feet down. You should elevate your feet at least every hour.
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How Do I Know If My Leg Ulcer Is Not Healing
- Have you noticed any increase or decrease in pain?
- Has there been an increase or decrease in the amount of fluid coming from the wound site?
- Can the fluid be contained within the dressing?
- What colour is the tissue in the wound bed?Pink healthy sign showing that new skin is beginning to cover the surfaceRed healthy new red tissue tissue is filling the woundYellow this can be a sign that could lead to a delay in wound healingBlack this needs to be assisted to lift away from the wound to enable the new, healthy tissue to grow
- Can you see if the wound is getting smaller or larger? Compare with an object of a similar size and record any increase or decrease.
If you have concerns with any of the above, please get in touch with your healthcare professional for advice.
Symptoms Of Leg Ulcers
- that they are commonly found on the lower leg and ankle
- a sunken, asymmetrically shaped wound
- the edges of the ulcer are clearly defined from the surrounding skin
- the surrounding skin is intact, but inflamed
- the surrounding skin may be pigmented, hardened or calloused
- yellowish-white exudate
- varicose veins in the leg.
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What Are The Complications Of Leg Ulcers
People with nonhealing wounds are at risk for:
- Bone infections such as osteomyelitis, which may lead to limb loss .
- Cellulitis, a potentially severe bacterial infection of the skin and layers beneath the skin.
- , a potentially life-threatening bacterial infection.
- Skin cancers like squamous cell carcinoma.
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.
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