Are you struggling to heal a venous ulcer on your leg? Get those steps in! Walking is good for treating and preventing venous ulcers.
Sluggish or blocked blood flow in the leg veins leads to a chronic condition known as venous insufficiency. You may already recognize its common signs, such as swelling, pain, and varicose veins. But did you know that the condition can also cause venous ulcers? These slow-healing wounds typically appear around the ankle and can be extremely painful and debilitating.
One study found 40 percent of patients with venous ulcers also had advanced vein disease. Another analysis concluded that most venous ulcers resulted from poor circulation in the leg veins. Although venous ulcers can take four to six weeks to heal, walking can effectively alleviate the pain and prevent new ulcers from forming.
What causes venous ulcers?
Your leg veins are lined with tiny valves that push blood back to the heart. When these valves weaken, they allow blood to backflow and pool in the vein. The pooling of blood sets into motion a chain of events that causes ulcers to form.
First, the trapped blood causes the veins to swell. As a result, your leg will start to feel painful and heavy. In many cases, varicose veins develop on the leg as the veins bulge from under the skin. The swelling also increases blood pressure in the vein, making the skin crack open and forming ulcers.
The swelling also blocks blood from getting to the skin. The skin needs the nutrients in the blood to heal. However, since the swelling prevents blood from reaching the skin, the sore cannot heal as it should. As a result, a shallow wound with irregular borders forms, with the base typically appearing red and covered by yellow tissue. The skin around the sore may become discolored and feel tight and warm. If the sore becomes infected, it’ll release a foul-smelling discharge.
Why walking is good for venous ulcers
If your sore is diagnosed as a venous ulcer, your doctor will show you how to change the dressings regularly to keep the area dry and clean. You may also need to wear compression stockings that help move blood in the veins and promote healing.
Your doctor will also recommend you walk daily. While you may be reluctant to walk with a painful leg, you will actually benefit from it. When you walk, your calf muscles contract and help pump blood through the veins. When blood flows smoothly, it has less chance of pooling in the vein and causing swelling, pain, and venous ulcers. Walking not only helps an ulcer heal quicker but can also prevent new ones from forming.
Start with short walks and gradually build up your stamina and distance. To maximize healing, you can make other lifestyle adjustments as well, such as:
Lose weight. Your veins react to your weight. If you carry extra pounds, your veins will feel the pressure and have difficulty pumping blood. Eating a healthy diet and exercising will help shed those pounds.
Keep moving. Blood pools in veins when you sit or stand for long hours. If you can’t escape from your desk, you can keep the blood moving with simple flexing exercises while seated. For example, plant your heel on the floor and bend your toes upward. Hold the stretch for 10 to 15 seconds.
Elevate your legs. Elevate your legs above your heart for as little as 20 minutes daily to reduce swelling and pain. The blood will drain from your leg veins and flow to the heart as it should.
But suppose you don’t have venous ulcers, but your legs feel swollen or heavy from vein disease. A daily stroll will help reduce the symptoms and significantly lower the risk of developing a venous ulcer. But better yet, consider getting your veins treated by a board-certified vein doctor. Home remedies are great for alleviating symptoms of venous insufficiency, but only surgical treatment can eliminate the pain by addressing the root cause.
Take time to care for your veins
At Center for Vein Restoration (CVR), our physicians and staff specialize in treating vascular disorders, such as varicose veins and venous ulcers. We offer a wide range of therapies that include both conservative lifestyle changes and minimally invasive surgical procedures. Your vein health is vital to your overall health, so take the time to treat them today.
Contact your nearest CVR location today to schedule a consultation or speak to a representative. You may also schedule online at your convenience.