Varicose Ulcers

What Are Varicose Ulcers?

Varicose ulcers are painful, open sores caused by poorly functioning veins in the legs. As the blood flow stagnates, pressure builds up and throws off the balance of the skin, causing blood capillaries to break. The resulting leakage then causes an open wound.

Another name for varicose ulcers is venous leg ulcers. These are wounds that don’t heal after a long period of time and do not respond to common treatments like antibiotics. A varicose ulcer is usually caused by an underlying condition, such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or varicose veins.

Symptoms of Varicose Ulcers

The main symptom of a varicose ulcer is an open wound in the ankle or lower leg. The wound will appear red, swollen and ooze blood. Other common signs and symptoms of varicose ulcers include:

  • Itching
  • Swollen ankles and feet
  • Discolored or dense skin
  • Painful sensations
  • Dark veins in the legs
  • Heaviness and aching in the lower legs

Cause of Varicose Ulcers

Varicose ulcers are usually caused by underlying blood circulation issues. This can be caused by heart or kidney problems, diseases of the veins, or injuries. Other common causes of varicose ulcers include:

  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Pregnancy
  • Injury
  • Venous hypertension
  • Older age
  • Sedentary lifestyle

Treatment of Varicose Ulcers

Treatment for varicose ulcers usually focuses on treating the underlying condition, such as DVT or varicose veins. Treatment will also involve frequent cleansing of the wound site and the use of compression bandages to encourage blood flow to the area. Other treatment methods may include:

  • Prescription medications
  • Laser therapy to close the wound
  • Surgical intervention
  • Special dressings
  • Growth factors and platelet-rich plasma injections