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Leg/Foot Ulcers

Venous ulcers are caused by severe or long term swelling from poor blood flow in the veins.  This causes weakening in the tissue of your leg.  The skin then breaks causing an ulcer to form.

What causes Venous Stasis Ulcers?

  • Hereditary
  • Varicose Veins
  • Injury to lower legs

Signs and Symptoms

  • Brown pigmentation to skin and around ankle
  • Edema (swelling) of affected extremity
  • Leathery texture to skin
  • Sores (ulcers) that do not heat
  • Ulcers are generally located in the distal third of the leg around the ankle area.

What is the treatment for Venous Stasis Ulcers?

  • Elevate legs whenever possible - while in bed or lying down, elevate legs above heart level.  This will help decrease swelling.
  • A compression pump may be used for severe swelling.
  • Elastic bandages or support stockings may be ordered to control swelling
  • Antibiotics may be ordered if an infection is present
  • Good hygiene is very important in preventing infection
  • If you are overweight, you should consider a weight loss program
  • Unna Boot-This is a medicated moist gauze dressing that is applied from the foot to below the knee.  It provides the needed compression improving blood flow in the veins to promote healing.  The Unna Boot will feel snug.  It will harden as it dries into a semi-rigid cast and may be worn one to four weeks at a time.  If you experience numbness, tingling, swelling in the foot or foul odor, notify your doctor.  Be sure to keep the Unna Boot dry.  It is NOT to get wet.  When you take a shower, put a plastic bag over the boot.  Healing of your ulcers may take a few weeks to months.
  • Once your ulcer is healed, you must continue to wear support compression stockings.  You will always be prone to ulcers.


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