Those suffering from varicose veins are at greater risk of a venous ulcer. At-home remedies can help heal the open wound.
If you suffer from varicose veins, you could be at greater risk for a venous ulcer. That’s because the same circulatory problems that lead to varicose veins also contribute to the development of venous ulcers, or painful open wounds that require careful care.
Our leg veins depend on one-way valves to pump blood back to our heart. When those valves malfunction, blood collects in the vein. Over time, this pooling of blood puts enormous pressure on the vein, which sometimes causes the skin tissue around the vein to crack open and form an open wound.
Even before the wound appears, your legs may feel heavy and cramp up. Tingling and itching sensations are also common early signs of a venous ulcer. Further, the skin in the affected area may change color to dark red, purple, or brown. As the blood continues pool, your skin may thicken.
Once the ulcer breaks through the vein and the skin, you’ll see a shallow, red-colored wound covered by a yellow tissue. The skin around the ulcer will be tight, shiny, warm to the touch, and discolored. An infected sore will have a foul odor and ooze pus.
Venous ulcers typically appear above the ankle. Despite their unsightly appearance and the discomfort they cause, these open wounds respond well to at-home treatments.
Treating Venous Ulcers
If you’ve been diagnosed with a venous leg ulcer, your doctor will recommend you try these four at-home remedies. Fortunately, these guidelines are easy to follow and should bring relief in three to four months.
- Cleanse and Protect the Wound. Your doctor will instruct you on how to clean and bandage the wound, and how often you should do so. Before you change the dressing, cleanse the wound per the instructions and apply a new bandage. Always keep the bandage and the skin around the wound dry so the ulcer doesn’t spread into healthy tissue.
- Wear Compression Stockings. To encourage the blood to move up to the heart, tight-fitting compression garments should be worn over the wound covering. These elastic stockings squeeze the veins in the legs so the blood circulates upward. They also reduce any swelling in the leg.
- Elevate Your Leg. Another way to promote proper circulation is elevating the affected leg above your heart several times a day. Lie on flat surface and then prop your leg up on pillows to achieve this effect.
- Exercise. Staying active also aids in the healing process. A brisk daily walk, swim, or other low-impact exercise that tones the calf muscles encourages healthy blood flow.
If the wound is infected, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics. Venous ulcers that don’t heal may require surgery to improve circulation in the veins, though these are rare.
Treatment for Venous Ulcers and Other Vein Disorders
Though uncomfortable and unsightly, venous ulcers are highly treatable. The specialists at the Center for Vein Restoration can assess your wound and develop a treatment plan to restore your skin’s healthy glow. Varicose vein patients concerned about venous ulcers may also want to discuss their options for preemptively preventing open wounds by treating varicose veins. Our practice offers a variety of minimally invasive treatments for varicose veins. Call today for a consultation.