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What Are Venous Ulcers?

Venous ulcers are a complication of vein disease. Damaged or dysfunctional vein valves in your legs can lead to open wounds that are slow to heal. Without proper care, you’re at risk for serious infection.

It’s important to have a vein specialist as part of your care team if you have vein disease. Vascular specialists treat venous ulcers and help manage complications that arise from venous disease.

Rely on vascular surgeon Dennis Resetarits, MD, and our team at Surgical Care East for a full range of vascular care. If you have venous disease, prompt ulcer care is vital to prevent further health complications. Here’s what you should know about venous ulcers.

An overview of venous insufficiency

Venous insufficiency occurs when one-way vein valves in your legs and vein walls fail to work effectively due to damage or dysfunction. Veins have valves that keep blood flowing in one direction toward the heart. To do this, blood must flow against gravity, upward from your legs.

Your calf muscles help with this process. With each step, your calf muscles contract, which helps push blood upward toward the heart.

In venous disease, damaged vein valves make it hard for blood to return to the heart from the legs. As a result, blood collects in the veins in your legs (stasis), and the resulting pressure weakens vein walls. 

Venous ulcers

Venous ulcers are the result of sustained pressure and weakened valves in your leg veins. As blood pools, the increased pressure reduces blood flow and disrupts the delivery of oxygen and nutrients.

Eventually, ulcers may form in the areas of poor circulation and increased pressure. 

Reduced blood flow makes these wounds slow to heal, and they tend to come back if you don’t take steps to prevent them. Without proper care, venous ulcers quickly become infected, leading to a potentially serious skin infection (cellulitis).

Watching out for venous ulcer warning signs

When it comes to venous ulcers, the sooner you get treatment the better. It’s important to recognize the first sign of a venous skin ulcer and act quickly. Skin discoloration in the affected area is the first warning sign. Your skin may appear dark red or purple before a sore develops.

The area may feel dry or itchy. Blood leaking out of the vein causes these symptoms. You may experience leg pain and swelling. 

Contact our office at the first sign of a venous ulcer to prevent serious complications. If you take steps immediately, you may be able to prevent the ulcer from forming.

If you notice an open wound developing, early intervention will help the wound heal faster. If not treated quickly enough, small ulcers can easily turn into large open sores that are very vulnerable to infection. 

Preventing venous ulcers

Treatment to close off bad veins improves vascular health. Your body then reroutes blood to healthy veins. Compression stockings help to prevent blood from pooling. Other steps to prevent venous ulcers include:

Elevating your legs, especially after an extended period of standing, helps as well.  

Venous disease requires specialized care. With the right management, you can prevent complications and improve your vascular health. To get started, contact our Camillus, New York, office or request an appointment via our website today.

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