Tuesday, Sept. 2, 2008
A venous skin ulcer is an open wound that typically develops on the lower leg and can take months to heal. Dr. Ed Hill discusses the cause of venous skin ulcers and possible treatment options in todayís 60 Second Housecall.
A venous skin ulcer is a shallow wound that develops when the leg veins do not move blood back toward the heart normally.
Venous skin ulcers typically develop on either side of the lower leg, above the ankle and below the calf. Slowed circulation, called venous insufficiency, can cause fluid to seep out of overfilled veins into surrounding tissues, causing tissue breakdown and ulcers.
The first sign of a venous skin ulcer is the appearance of dark red or purple skin over the affected area. The skin may also become thickened and dry and itchy.
Because venous skin ulcers are a result of poor blood circulation, these wounds are often slow to heal.
Improving circulation is critical in the treatment of venous skin ulcers. More aggressive medical treatments, such as skin grafting and vein surgery, are available for venous skin ulcers that take longer than six months of treatment to heal or that become infected.
Contact your doctor when you first notice the signs of a venous ulcer because you may be able to prevent an open wound from forming.
For North Mississippi Medical Center, Iím Dr. Ed Hill.