What Is a Venous Ulcer?


Quick Answer

Venous ulcers are open sores or wounds that do not heal or keep coming back, forming lower than the knee, on the inside part of the leg, notes ClevelandClinic.org. Patients with history of swelling in the legs, varicose veins or blood clots in veins commonly develop these ulcers.

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Full Answer

At their base, venous ulcers often have a red color and feature a fibrous covering that is yellow. When the ulcer develops infection, the drainage is often yellow or green and copious in volume. The borders of the ulcer are generally irregular, and the skin around the ulcer is frequently swollen and discolored, as well as warm to the touch. If swelling is significant, the skin also looks tight and shiny, according to ClevelandClinic.org.

The most frequent causes for venous ulcers include poor circulation, failure of vein valves in the legs, clotting disorders, diabetes and kidney failure. Genetics sometimes plays a role, and a history of smoking, elevated cholesterol, heart disease or bowel disorders are also risk factors, reports ClevelandClinic.org.

Treatment choices for venous ulcers often includes leg compression to minimize swelling. Compression takes the form of compression stockings or wraps, as well as ACE bandages or dressing extending from the foot to just below the knee, as stated by ClevelandClinic.org.

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