More than half of the ulcers occurring in the lower extremities – the legs and ankles- are venous ulcers. They can develop because of high pressure within the veins due to damage of the vein valves due to reflux or obstruction (in patients with a history of DVT)
Arterial ulcers, also called ischemic ulcers, are caused when the body’s arteries don’t deliver enough blood to the legs, ankles and feet. When the tissues are deprived of oxygen they begin to break down and an open wound can develop. Arterial ulcers may also develop from scrapes and cuts that cannot heal because of poor blood flow to the area.
Arterial ulcers may develop on pressure points from shoes and boots. This includes areas where footwear rubs on the skin, such as the outer ankles, between the toes, and the tips of the toes, grey or black in color, may feel cold to the touch and there may be hair loss in the area.
Arterial ulcers are usually caused by arterial insufficiency. These can include blood vessels that are restricted because of peripheral vascular disease.
What Causes Venous Leg Ulcers?
Each vein has a valve that keeps blood flowing in the right direction toward the heart. When the valves fail and blood isn’t kept moving, the blood pools in the vein. When this happens, pressure can build, destroying tissue and leading to the formation of an ulcer. Because it is caused by an issue with a valve in the vein, it is called a “venous” ulcer.
Direct Wound Care
The physician will care for the wound directly using proven clinical methods to promote proper healing. These include removing any wound debris, cleaning the wound and ensuring that tissue can heal from the inside out. Wound care treatment plans are developed to care for each specific wound, taking into account the patient’s overall health.
Venous ulcer supportive treatments
Along with treating and healing the wound directly, improving circulation is one of the most effective supportive treatments for venous leg ulcers. This will support healing of the existing ulcer and prevent further ulcers from developing. Raising the legs above the level of your heart, wearing compression socks, regular walking, and exercise all help to improve circulation. Better circulation leads to easier treatment, better healing and fewer complications.
Arterial ulcer supportive treatments
The primary goal of the treatment of arterial ulcers is to increase circulation to the area, either surgically or medically.