About 1% of the American population, or approximately 3.3 million people, have venous ulcers. If you have a chronic condition that negatively affects your circulation, such as varicose veins or chronic venous insufficiency, venous ulcers may increase your risk of infection, gangrene, or amputation. At Carolina Vein Institute, with three convenient locations in Raleigh, Chapel Hill, and Apex, North Carolina, vein specialists Ashley Baquero, MD, Luan Tran, MD, and the team provides safe, effective treatment for venous ulcers. To schedule an appointment, call the nearest location, or book a consultation online today.
A venous ulcer is an open wound that forms due to problems with your circulation. They can occur anywhere on the body, but they’re especially common in the lower extremities, near the calves and ankles.
Normally, if you cut or scrape yourself, your body’s natural healing process closes the wound. Over time, the wound develops a scab and heals. Venous ulcers are different, in that they won’t heal without professional intervention.
Venous ulcers form due to damaged vein valves. The veins in your legs pump blood back to your heart and assist in controlling your blood pressure. If your vein valves don’t work as they should, the blood pressure in your legs remains high – a condition called sustained venous hypertension. Over time, this increased blood pressure causes skin damage and ulcers to form.
To diagnose venous ulcers, your specialist at Carolina Vein Institute reviews your medical history, asks about your symptoms and lifestyle, and conducts a physical exam. Most venous ulcers are easy to spot through physical observation alone.
Your provider might also order an on-site venous ultrasound. This diagnostic imaging technique can pinpoint the underlying cause of your ulcer. It can also determine how well blood circulates through your legs and feet.
Treatment for venous ulcers focuses on two specific areas: cleaning the wound and preventing infection, and addressing the underlying circulatory or vein problems responsible for the wound itself.
During your appointment, your specialist at Carolina Vein Institute cleans the would and applies a dressing. Afterward, they write you a prescription for antibacterial ointment or another topical medicine that can prevent and treat the infection. If you have several wounds, your provider might also recommend taking a round of oral antibiotics.
For more serious venous ulcers, an outpatient treatment like VenaCure EVLT® endovenous laser ablation or sclerotherapy may be necessary.
At home, it’s important to wear compression stockings. Compression stockings place light pressure on your legs, preventing blood from pooling while speeding up your body’s natural healing process. To achieve the best possible outcome, clean and care for your ulcers regularly and attend all follow-up appointments.
There’s no way to prevent venous ulcers entirely, but you can do things to significantly lower your risk. Carolina Vein Institute recommends:
If you work a job that requires you to stay on your feet, elevate your legs at the end of the day. This can improve circulation and prevent your blood from pooling.
Don’t let venous ulcers negatively affect your quality of life. Schedule an appointment at Carolina Vein Institute today by calling the nearest location or booking a consultation online.