Venous leg ulcer
A leg ulcer is a long-lasting (chronic) sore that takes more than four to six weeks to heal. They usuallydevelop on the inside of the leg, just above the ankle.
The symptoms of a venous leg ulcer include pain, itching and swelling in the affected leg. There may also be discoloured or hardened skin around the ulcer, and the sore may produce a foul-smelling discharge.
See your GP if you think you have a leg ulcer, as it will need specialist treatment to help it heal.
Your GP will examine your leg and may carry out additional tests to rule out other conditions.
It's estimated that around 1 in 50 people over the age of 80 has one.
You're more at risk of developing one if you've previously had deep vein thrombosis (DVT) orfind it difficult towalk because of a problem such as:
You're also more at risk ifyou've recently had an operation on your leg, such as a hip replacement or knee replacement .
People with varicose veins (swollen and enlarged veins) also have a higher risk of developing venous leg ulcers.
Most venous leg ulcers heal within three to four months if they're treated by a healthcare professional trained in compression therapy for leg ulcers. However, some ulcers may take longer to heal, and a very small number never heal.
Treatment usually involves:
Antibiotics may also be used if the ulcer becomes infected, but they don't help ulcers to heal.
However, unless the underlying cause of the ulcer is addressed, there's a high risk of a venous leg ulcer recurring after treatment. Underlying causes could include immobility, obesity, previous DVT, or varicose veins.
There are several ways to help prevent a venous leg ulcer in people at risk, such as:
This is particularly important if you've previously had a leg ulcer once a leg has suffered a venous ulcer, you're at risk of further ulcers developing within months or years.
A leg ulcer is a long-lasting (chronic) sore on your leg or foot that takes more than four to six weeks to heal.
Venous leg ulcers are open, often painful, sores in the skin that take more than four to six weeks to heal. They most often develop on the inside of the leg.
A venous leg ulcer can develop after a minor injury if there is a problem with the circulation of blood in your leg veins. If this happens, the pressure inside the veins increases.
You should see your GP if you think you may have a venous leg ulcer as the condition is unlikely to improve without specialist treatment.
With appropriate treatment, most venous leg ulcers will heal within three to four months.
You can help reduce your risk of developing a venous leg ulcer in several ways, such as wearing a compression stocking, losing weight and taking care of your skin.