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Leg Ulcers

Centers for Pain Control and Vein Care

Pain Management Physicians & Vein Specialists located across Northwest Indiana

Leg ulcers are different from typical wounds. They’re hard to heal, quick to spread, and put you at risk for serious infections. The experienced physicians at Centers for Pain Control and Vein Care in Hobart, LaPorte, Munster, Valparaiso, and Highland, Indiana, provide comprehensive care for leg ulcers, treating the underlying cause of the ulcer, while providing exceptional wound care that promotes healing. Don’t wait to get help for a leg ulcer. At the first sign of an open wound, call the nearest office or schedule an appointment online.

Leg Ulcers Q & A

What are leg ulcers?

A leg ulcer is an open wound that develops on your lower leg, often around your ankle. These wounds are slow healing. Unlike other wounds or ulcers, they can take nine months or longer to heal. Sometimes they don’t heal, or they heal and recur again.

Without medical care, leg ulcers get progressively worse, breaking down the surrounding skin and enlarging. As a result, you can develop a dangerous skin or bone infection.

What vascular conditions cause leg ulcers?

Leg ulcers develop when you have diseased arteries or veins due to two common problems:

Venous insufficiency

Venous insufficiency occurs in your leg veins when valves stop working and blood flows backward and builds up in the vein. This condition often causes varicose veins. It also leads to high blood pressure in your lower leg veins.

High venous pressure forces fluids out of the veins in your lower leg. The fluids make the skin break down, and a leg ulcer develops.

Peripheral artery disease (PAD)

PAD develops when cholesterol plaque builds up on the wall of an artery in your leg. As the plaque enlarges, it restricts blood flow. Lack of blood deprives skin and other tissues in your lower leg of the oxygen and nutrients needed to stay healthy.

Without treatment, the loss of blood causes a leg ulcer. If PAD severely or completely stops the flow of blood, the tissues die, a condition called critical limb ischemia.

What other symptoms develop when I have a leg ulcer?

Developing an open wound is the obvious symptom of a leg ulcer. However, you may develop symptoms of the underlying condition before the ulcer develops. You may experience:

  • Leg pain
  • Leg swelling
  • Varicose veins
  • Muscle spasms
  • Restless legs
  • Thickened skin in your lower leg
  • Reddish-brown skin in your lower leg
  • Eczema-like skin rashes in your lower leg

Your leg pain may feel like a general aching or burning pain, a symptom that’s typical if you have venous insufficiency.

Or you may have leg pain that occurs when you walk and then feels better when you rest. This type of pain, called claudication, is a hallmark symptom of PAD.

How are leg ulcers treated?

After a comprehensive examination and performing diagnostic imaging if needed, the team at Centers for Pain Control and Vein Care take a two-pronged approach to treating leg ulcers: They treat the underlying condition while immediately starting intensive wound care to promote healing.

Your treatment may include one or more of the following:

  • Compression stockings
  • Sclerotherapy
  • VenaSeal™
  • Microphlebectomy
  • Phlebectomy
  • Vein radiofrequency ablation
  • Wound cleaning and debridement
  • Specialized dressings
  • Antibiotic therapy
  • Bio-engineered tissue substitutes
  • Negative pressure wound therapy
  • Wound care education

At the first sign of leg pain, skin changes, or a leg ulcer, call Centers for Pain Control and Vein Care or book an appointment online.