Venous ulcers are the most common type of ulcers that occur in the leg. The symptoms of venous ulcers include swelling of the legs, especially at the ankles, change of the color of the skin that surrounds these ulcers, pain in the legs, and itchiness of this part of the skin. Sometimes these ulcers may get a secondary infection, causing severe pain in the ulcer and which makes them form pus or discharge, which is foul-smelling.
There are different causes of venous leg ulcers. These causes include injury to the veins, obesity which puts pressure on the veins, muscular problems, deep vein thrombosis, and old age. When you visit with Kristen Forsythe, FNP about symptoms of a leg ulcer, she will take your medical history and examine you to confirm the diagnosis. She may also order some laboratory tests to rule out other conditions, then come up with a specialized treatment plan for you.
Below are some things you can do to prevent the formation of venous leg ulcers:
- Managing Your Weight
Being overweight and obese is one of the causes of venous leg ulcers. Obesity causes leg ulcers by putting pressure on the veins. The excess pressure can cause the valves in your legs to malfunction, and therefore blood accumulates in the legs, increasing the risk of venous ulcers. There are different ways in which you can lose weight, including eating a healthy diet that has less processed foods and doing regular exercise. You can seek help from a specialist if you are struggling with weight loss.
- Wearing Compression Stockings
Compression stockings help to improve the blood circulation in your legs by squeezing your legs periodically to mimic the calf muscles. Because these stockings are tight around your ankles and loose towards the knees, they push the blood upwards towards the heart and prevent the backflow of blood.
For the stockings to be effective, you need to put them on when you wake up and keep them on the whole day, then remove them at night. These stockings come in a variety of colors and designs and your healthcare provider can help you to choose the type that works best for you. You will then be provided with accessories that help you to wear and remove the stockings easily.
- Managing the Underlying Medical Conditions
One of the causes of venous ulcers is diabetes which causes the formation of molecules inside the blood vessels and makes these blood vessels to become narrow. This happens when diabetes is poorly controlled. To prevent this, you should take your medications or insulin shots as prescribed by the doctor, go for regular monitoring of your blood sugar, and eat a healthy diet.
High blood pressure also causes venous leg ulcers. To prevent it, you should adhere to your treatment, eat a healthy diet that is low in salt, manage your stress levels, and do regular exercise. Other ways to prevent venous leg ulcers is to quit smoking. Smoking leads to the constriction of your blood vessels, which delays wound healing. Elevating your legs to promote blood flow is also helpful with the condition.
In summary, venous leg ulcers are caused by trauma to the legs, damage to the valves of the legs, diabetes, obesity, smoking, and hypertension. To prevent this condition, it is important to manage your weight, adhere to treatment of underlying medical conditions like diabetes, and wear compression stockings.