You’ve probably at one time noticed an open wound in someone’s ankle or leg that has taken so long to heal. That’s an ankle ulcer. It is caused by leg complications, diabetes, and even improper circulation of the blood. In addition, ankle ulcers are divided into three predominant types mainly the neurotrophic, arterial ulcer, and the venous stasis ulcer.
The most common type of leg ulcer is the venous stasis which accounts for over 90% of all leg ulcer cases. This type of ulcer occurs at the back of the leg or on the side. Although the ulcer is mostly pain-free, lack of treatment can lead to serious complications. The other two forms of ulcers are non-venous and are caused by complications with the nerves or poor circulation.
What causes a leg ulcer?
Healthy veins enable the blood to flow from the leg up to your heart and stop the backflow. However, when the valves in your leg veins are damaged, they are unable to stop the back flow and this lead to excessive pressure of blood in your leg veins causing the fluid to accumulate under your skin. Over time, you’ll notice swelling of the skin, which may lead to the development of an ankle ulcer if not treated.
Issues such as deep vein thrombosis, hypertension, and varicose veins can also cause a venous leg ulcer. Furthermore, aging, immobility, injury, surgery, obesity and multiple pregnancies can also contribute to the leg ulcer.
Who is at risk of getting a leg ulcer?
If you’ve has a history of varicose veins, inflammatory diseases, blood clots or any leg swelling, you may have a higher risk of developing these ulcers.
How are they diagnosed?
When you visit a doctor, one will ask you any symptoms you may be having as well as your medical history. CT scans, MRIs and radiography may be used to check the depth of the ulcer and if it’s infected.
What are the available treatments?
The main goal of treating the venous ulcer is to heal the wound, relieve any pain, and treat any infection if present. Some of the treatment options include compression therapy, debridement and wound care. The doctor may also recommend painkillers, antibiotics and surgery for varicose veins.
If you’ve had a leg ulcer that takes long to heal, you need to visit your doctor who will advise you on the best treatment plan. Drink lots of fluids, exercise and eat a healthy diet as this helps to speed up the healing process.