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A venous leg ulcer or chronic wound is a sore on your legs that takes a long time to heal due to slow or weak blood circulation. A sore can last from a few weeks up to years. If left untreated, the sore can develop into more severe and serious skin conditions. The open wound can cause chronic pain, infection and discomfort for the affected person.

Causes of Leg Ulcers

In general, our bodies are blessed with remarkable regenerative capabilities. We are able to recover from most superficial wounds and skin problems through the natural healing process of the body.
In order to heal wounds, blood must be able to flow easily through the circulatory system. Out blood carries oxygen, nutrients, energy and other essential proteins that are required to heal and regenerate tissues and skin cells. Blood also helps in removing dead cells and pollutants from a wound.
If blood flow is restricted to a wounded part of the body, recovery can take longer. If the blood flow is slower in the legs due to problems with the veins or arteries, healing of a wound can take months or even years.
If a wound on the legs takes particularly longer to heal, it can be a sign that the blood vessels are not performing well.

Venous Ulcers

The majority of ulcers in the legs occur due to problems in the veins. The insides of our veins are lined with valves pointing upwards. This makes it easier for blood to flow up, and keeps it from flowing down during the normal beating function of the heart.
Damage to the valves allows blood to flow in the opposite direction, making it difficult to take toxins and damaged cells away from the wound.

Arterial Ulcers

These ulcers develop when the arteries do not deliver enough blood to the wounds in the legs, feet and ankles. Arteries help replenish tissues and skin by supplying oxygenated, nutrient-rich blood. When the tissues do not get enough oxygen over a period of time, they start to break down and die. Wounds can develop easily in the dead cells even if there is a minor cut or scrape.
Arterial ulcers can develop on pressure points from shoes and boots when they rub into the ankles and foot.

Symptoms of Leg Ulcers

Leg ulcers most commonly manifest as chronic wounds that take a long time to heal. The wound may feel itchy and the surrounding tissues may become swollen. Common symptoms include the following.

• Drying of skin or a rash

• A brownish discoloration

• Discharge of a foul smelling fluid from the sore

• A redness or swelling of the skin around the wound

• Shooting pain

• A fever

Treatment of Leg Ulcers

The main goal of ulcer treatment is to improve circulation of blood to the affected area and help the wound heal faster. The following types of treatments are known to be effective.

Antibacterial Medication: These are usually external and applied to the wound. The dressing helps prevent bacteria from accumulating on the wound.

Stockings and Leg Slings: Patients suffering from ulcers caused by venous insufficiency may be told to keep their legs raised when resting to improve blood flow. Patients may also be told to wear compression stockings that helps squeeze the tissues against the veins, improving blood flow.

Surgery: In extreme cases, the doctor may recommend the patient to undergo surgery, Surgery can be used to widen the narrow blood vessels or dissolve blood clots that are blocking the circulation of blood in the body.

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Venous and Arterial Leg Ulcer

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