Early Warning Signs of Venous Ulcers
Untreated varicose veins can cause ulcers in some cases. Fortunately, venous ulcers are simple to spot and prevent.
Varicose veins can have a number of unpleasant side effects. In some cases, they can even lead to ulcers in the skin surrounding the vein. If you’ve recently noticed any changes in the color or texture of your skin, we’ll help you determine whether you’re starting to experience venous ulcers and outline some steps you can take to better manage (or better yet, prevent) them.
Causes and Symptoms
Venous ulcers are an uncommon, but serious consequence of untreated varicose veins. The greater pressure in your veins begins to restrict blood flow to the surrounding tissues, causing them to slowly die. If left unattended, an open wound can form at the site of the affected vein.
While most patients with varicose veins are unlikely to develop ulcers, some people with varicose veins or another form of chronic venous insufficiency are at a greater risk. Some established risk factors include obesity, old age, pregnancy, smoking, a prior injury in the leg such as a torn muscle or broken bone, a history of blood clots, and a family history of chronic venous insufficiency.
Venous ulcers have a set of distinct and easily recognized symptoms. In their early stages, the most common include:
Swelling, itching, and tingling in the leg
A general sense of heaviness in the affected limb
Darkened or discolored skin
As the ulcer progresses, an open sore with uneven borders may begin to form. The skin surrounding the sore will likely be hardened and discolored, and it may emit a foul odor.
Patients with varicose veins or another form of chronic venous insufficiency should seek immediately seek treatment if they suspect they’re suffering from venous ulcers. Fortunately, there are many simple steps that any patient can take to manage their symptoms. Some of the most effective remedies include:
Cleaning and bandaging the ulcer as needed
Thoroughly drying the surrounding skin
Wearing compression garments
Elevating the feet above the heart
As with any medical condition, the best treatment for venous ulcers is prevention. Making some of these simple lifestyle adjustments can dramatically reduce your risk of developing ulcers:
Maintaining a healthy blood pressure
The most successful prevention measure, however, is to treat the underlying varicose veins. If you’re struggling with chronic venous insufficiency, contact a qualified vein specialist today to discuss your condition and explore your treatment options.