Can Leg Ulcers Be Prevented
To prevent and promote healing of ulcers:
- Avoid injury, particularly when pushing a supermarket trolley. Consider protective shin splints.
- Walk and exercise for at least an hour a day to keep the calf muscle pump working properly.
- Lose weight if you are overweight.
- Stop smoking.
- Check your feet and legs regularly. Look for cracks, sores or changes in colour. Moisturise after bathing.
- Wear comfortable well-fitting shoes and socks. Avoid socks with a tight garter or cuff. Check the inside of shoes for small stones or rough patches before you put them on.
- If you have to stand for more than a few minutes, try to vary your stance as much as possible.
- When sitting, wriggle your toes, move your feet up and down and take frequent walks.
- Avoid sitting with your legs crossed. Put your feet up on a padded stool to reduce swelling.
- Avoid extremes of temperature such as hot baths or sitting close to a heater. Keep cold feet warm with socks and slippers.
- Consult a chiropodist or podiatrist to remove a callus or hard skin.
- Wear at least Grade 2 support stockings if your doctor has advised these. This is particularly important for the post-thrombotic syndrome, leg swelling or discomfort, and for long-distance flights.
- Have a vascular ultrasound assessment and consult a vascular surgeon to determine whether any vein treatment should be carried out.
- Horse chestnut extract appears to be of benefit for at least some patients with venous disease.
What Are The Complications Of Skin Ulcers
- Infection. This may further slow the healing of the ulcer and make it more painful and smelly. It may affect the skin around it, making it red, and there may be a discharge of a gunky smelly material from the ulcer. If an infection is suspected, a swab is usually taken on a stick rather like a cotton bud and sent to the laboratory for analysis. The swab result can confirm the presence of germs and recommend the right antibiotic treatment.
- Infection can spread to the skin. This is called cellulitis.
- Infection can spread to the bone. This is called osteomyelitis.
- Occasionally infection can spread and become widespread, causing .
- Pain. This can usually be managed with suitable painkillers.
- Psychological problems. Depending on the severity and cause, ulcers can cause low mood, depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, being unable to work and loss of mobility
What Is A Skin Ulcer
A skin ulcer is an open sore that appears like a round-shaped depression with rough patches. You may notice a deviation from your normal skin structure. Bleeding or inflammation in your skin can be present too. Skin ulcers are often caused by injuries that cannot heal due to improper blood circulation. These ulcers can be seen in any part of your skin however, they commonly form in your mouth, lips, legs, and feet.
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When To See A Doctor
Skin ulcers usually heal on their own, within a matter of weeks. However, acute problems can last for a longer period, even for a year or two. If your skin ulcer doesnât heal even after a few weeks, consult a doctor immediately.
Also, if your skin ulcer is very painful, is bleeding, is inflammed, has a foul smell, and seems to be worsening, consult your doctor for early intervention immediately.
Skin ulcers can be painful, but usually heal within weeks. They can easily be treated with right medications and easy home remedies. However, if your conditions worsen, visit a doctor immediately. The right treatment can prevent the infection from spreading to other parts of your body. Maintaining good blood circulation through regular exercises and a balanced diet can help avoid symptoms.
Other Types Of Leg Ulcer
Other common types of leg ulcer include:
- arterial leg ulcers caused by poor blood circulation in the arteries
- diabetic leg ulcers caused by the high blood sugar associated with diabetes
- vasculitic leg ulcers associated with chronic inflammatory disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus
- traumatic leg ulcers caused by injury to the leg
- malignant leg ulcers caused by a tumour of the skin of the leg
Most ulcers caused by artery disease or diabetes occur on the foot rather than the leg.
Page last reviewed: 11 January 2019 Next review due: 11 January 2022
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How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Foot And Toe Ulcers
There are several things you can do to help reduce your risk of getting foot and toe ulcers. Sometimes, adopting these habits can even stop them from coming back. Try to:
- Manage your diabetes. If you have diabetes you should wear appropriate footwear and never walk barefoot.
- Examine your legs as well as the tops and bottoms of your feet and the areas between your toes every day. Look for any blisters, cuts, cracks, scratches or other sores. Also check for redness, increased warmth, ingrown toenails, corns and calluses. Use a mirror to view your leg or foot if necessary. If its difficult to see, ask a family member to look at the area for you. See a healthcare provider immediately if you notice any problems.
- Talk to your healthcare provider about ways you can stop smoking.
- Manage your blood pressure.
- Control your cholesterol and triglyceride levels by changing your diet. Limit salt in your diet.
- Care for your toenails frequently. Cut your toenails after bathing, when they are soft. Cut toenails straight across and smooth with a nail file. Take care of ingrown toenails.
- Wear appropriate shoes and socks. Talk to your podiatrist about what you need.
Ayurvedic Treatment For Skin Ulcers
In Modern science, use of medicinal as well as surgical treatment may not give permanent treatment but in Ayurveda you can get the permanent cure from these kinds of conditions. So you should start treatment with Ayurveda natural herbs that will deal with the root cause of disease. Chandigarh Ayurved Centre provides Combination of medications for the natural and safe treatment of skin ulcers are
Medicines used are
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What Are Neurotrophic Ulcers
Neurotrophic ulcers occur primarily in people with diabetes, although they can affect anyone who has impaired sensation in their feet. They can be found anywhere on your feet, but they usually develop on the parts of your feet and toes that are most sensitive to weight .
Neurotrophic ulcers dont cause pain. But they can be serious if they arent treated promptly or they dont respond to treatment.
A neurotrophic ulcer might be the following colors:
- Any combination of those colors.
The thin borders of the ulcers are punched out, meaning that theyre taller than the surrounding tissues.
How Serious Are Venous Ulcers
A venous skin ulcer is a sore on your leg thats very slow to heal, usually because of weak blood circulation in the limb. They can last anywhere from a few weeks to years. You may hear a doctor or nurse call them venous leg ulcers. They can sometimes lead to more serious problems if you dont have them treated.
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What Are Leg Ulcers
Leg ulcers are open wounds on your leg that take more than two weeks to heal despite treatment. These ulcers typically appear between the ankle and knee.
Leg ulcers often seep and can grow larger if left untreated. A sore on your leg that doesnt heal after three months of treatment is considered a chronic condition.
How To Tell What Kind Of Skin Ulcer You Have
Skin ulcers affect 6.5 million patients annually. These painful, slow-healing sores are the result of underlying conditions ranging from poor blood flow or circulation in the legs and feet to complications from diabetes, prolonged pressure from immobility, and more. There are different types of skin ulcers, appearing in various places on the body depending on the cause.
The good news is that in many cases, skin ulcers can be treated if caught early. Those that have become infected and resist traditional treatment will likely require more serious intervention to prevent complications.
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What Are Arterial Ulcers
A condition called peripheral arterial disease can reduce blood flow to your extremities. When this happens, your foot tissue may start to die. The ulcers that form from reduced blood flow are called arterial ulcers.
The word arterial means relating to arteries. Arteries are blood vessels that transport blood from your heart to the rest of your body, including your feet and toes. Anyone can get an arterial ulcer, but people who smoke or have diabetes, high blood pressure or high cholesterol are at higher risk.
Unlike neurotrophic ulcers, arterial ulcers can form on many parts of your body, including:
- On your heels.
- On the tips of your toes.
- Between your toes .
- The bony parts of your feet and toes that rub against bed sheets, socks or shoes.
- The nail bed .
Arterial ulcers are:
- An unusual walk that puts too much pressure on one part of your foot or toe.
- Friction when your foot or toe rubs against the toe box of your shoe.
How Big Are Foot And Toe Ulcers
There are many different sizes of ulcers. They start as small as 1 centimeter wide and can grow to the size of your entire foot if left untreated.
The depth of the ulcer can change, too. Several different classification systems exist to define the depth of an ulcer. The Wagner Diabetic Foot Ulcer Grade Classification System, for example, has six grades:
- Grade 0: Your skin is intact .
- Grade 1: The ulcer is superficial, which means that the skin is broken but the wound is shallow .
- Grade 2: The ulcer is a deep wound.
- Grade 3: Part of the bone in your foot is visible.
- Grade 4: The forefront of your foot has gangrene .
- Grade 5: The entire foot has gangrene.
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Skin And Soft Tissue Infections
AGNB can cause superficial infections such as infected cutaneous ulcers, cellulitis, secondary diaper rash, gastrostomy or tracheostomy site wounds, infected subcutaneous sebaceous or inclusion cysts, eczema, scabies or kerion infections, paronychia, hidradenitis suppurativa, and pyoderma.48 Subcutaneous tissue infections and postsurgical wound infection also can include skin flora and AGNB.28,37 Such infections include cutaneous and subcutaneous abscesses, decubitus ulcers,49 infected diabetic ulcers, breast abscesses, bite wounds,50 anaerobic cellulitis and gas gangrene, bacterial synergistic gangrene, infected pilonidal cyst or sinus, Meleney ulcers, and burn wound infection. Deeper anaerobic soft tissue infections include necrotizing fasciitis, necrotizing synergistic cellulitis, gas gangrene, and crepitus cellulitis.51 These infections can involve only the fascia, the muscle surrounded by the fascia , or both the fascia and the muscle.
Management of deep-seated soft tissue infection includes surgical debridement and drainage, improvement in the blood supply when indicated, and administration of hyperbaric oxygen, especially in patients with clostridial infection.
How Can I Tell If Im Getting An Ulcer On My Foot Or Toe
When an ulcer is starting to develop on your foot or toe, you might notice changes in your skin like:
- Dry skin.
As the ulcer gets worse, it can get wider, and longer and deeper sometimes down to the bone. In advanced stages you might see:
- A callus.
- A halo around the center of the wound that feels harder than the skin around it.
- Drainage , which is a sign that you might have an infection.
- A brown discoloration.
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What Are Skin Ulcers
This is not a very pretty or fun topic to cover. However, we feel that it is necessary to make our readers more aware of Skin Ulcers. The fact that they affect so many people especially older populations brings the seriousness of these conditions to the forefront.
Skin ulcers are open sores caused by poor blood circulation. If you have poor blood circulation, then minor wounds may not heal properly leaving that injury to develop into a painful skin ulcer. These sores and ulcers often become infected if not properly treated. The infection, left untreated, can spread to deeper tissue, bones, joints, and blood resulting in a very serious issue where immediate medical attention is needed.
These ulcers can appear on most parts of the body. Common places include the legs, hips, feet, buttocks, and back. Skin ulcers are more likely to affect elderly people.
How Are Leg Ulcers Diagnosed
A vascular specialist a healthcare provider specializing in the circulatory system and knowledgeable about wound care can examine the ulcer. Your provider will examine your skin and the wound.
You may also get:
- Ankle-brachial index test, which uses ultrasound technology to measure blood pressure and blood flow in the legs.
- Biopsy to check skin cells and fluid from the wound for infections and skin diseases.
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Ulcers Caused By Problems With Blood Circulation
The blood supply coming to the skin is needed for the skin to heal after it has become broken or split for any reason. If there is a problem with circulation, the break in the skin does not heal, and may persist, leaving an ulcer. This may be a problem with the veins, the arteries, or the smaller blood vessels. The kinds of ulcers caused by circulation problems are:
- Venous ulcers. These ulcers and their treatment are described in the separate leaflet called Venous Leg Ulcers. They occur when the circulation in your legs is not working very well. Fluid tends to pool in the legs because the veins don’t work well enough to pump the blood efficiently back to the heart . This type of ulcer is more common in people with varicose veins that have lead to associated skin problems such as varicose eczema. They are also more common if you are overweight or obese, or not very mobile for any reason. They can also occur when the circulation is damaged by a deep vein thrombosis .
- Arterial ulcers. These are caused by conditions affecting arteries – see the separate leaflet called Peripheral Arterial disease.
- Vasculitic ulcers. These are caused by a number of conditions which cause blood vessels to become inflamed. This is called vasculitis.
Who Gets Foot And Toe Ulcers
Foot and toe ulcers can happen to many people but might be more common in Black, Native American and Hispanic people. If you have an eye, kidney or heart disease related to diabetes, youre also at a higher risk. About 15% of people with diabetes will get an ulcer, typically on the bottom of their foot. Some of those people will be hospitalized because of complications.
Youre also at a higher risk of getting foot and toe ulcers if you have any of the following conditions:
- Blood circulation issues.
If your ulcer is black, that means cells in the tissues have died. This is called necrosis .
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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:
Ulcers Due To Poor Blood Circulation
Good blood flow is essential for the maintenance of healthy tissue. If blood flow to an area of the body is interrupted or poor, the tissue may begin to disintegrate, causing healing to be sluggish and ineffective.
Blood is carried through the body within arteries and veins . Problems with either can result in blood flow interruption and ulceration.
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What To Expect After Treatment With Cvm
At CVM, we’re ready to help diagnose and treat your leg ulcers at our select wound care locations:
Our expert team will carefully consider all potential chronic pelvic pain causes, with a special emphasis of diagnosing any potential vascular disorders.
We provide complete chronic pelvic treatment for pain. Aside from implementing innovative techniques to treat your pain, including treatments for vascular issues, we’re committed to listening to your concerns and treating your pain seriously. Many of our patients go on to have significant improvement or resolution of their symptoms.
Skin Ulcers: Types Causes And Effective Treatment Options
- Skin ulcers are open sores that fail to heal properly.
- There are many different types of skin ulcers, each requiring an individualized treatment plan.
- An open sore that wont heal is cause for concern and should be evaluated by a physician.
Although we dont often think of it as such, skin is technically a body organand the largest one at that. It serves many functions including physical protection against the outside environment and heat regulation. Its also one of the first lines of defense against pathogens like bacteria and viruses.
Chronic skin ulceration significantly impacts those functions, causing inflammatory conditions, infection, and in extreme cases can even lead to amputation and mortality.
Here we examine the classification, diagnosis, and various treatment options for the most common types of skin ulcers.
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What Questions Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider
You may want to ask your healthcare provider:
- What caused the leg ulcer?
- What is the best treatment for me?
- What changes can I make to heal the wound and prevent future ulcers?
- Should I look out for signs of complications?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Leg ulcers can be painful, unsightly and difficult to treat. Chronic leg ulcers need specialized wound care to prevent infection and aid healing. Your healthcare provider may recommend other treatments like medicines or procedures to improve blood flow to the leg. Even after they heal, leg ulcers can break open again. Your provider can offer suggestions on how to prevent a wound recurrence.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 06/23/2022.