Leg Ulcers

The leg ulcers caused by vascular disease are incredibly slow to heal and always require aggressive medical care to prevent complications like infections. The vascular surgeons at AMI Surgery in Stamford, Connecticut, and Port Chester, New York, have extensive experience diagnosing the cause of leg ulcers and providing comprehensive care that restores your health. If you notice an ulcer on your lower leg, call or book an appointment online today.

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Leg Ulcers Q & A

What are leg ulcers?

Leg ulcers are open wounds that develop when the skin on your leg breaks down due to a vascular condition. These ulcers, which typically appear on your lower leg or around your ankle, need immediate medical care.

Leg ulcers don’t heal on their own and even with intensive treatment, they can take months to improve. Without medical treatment, the ulcer keeps enlarging and can lead to serious infections. 

What vascular conditions cause leg ulcers?

Two common vascular problems cause leg ulcers:

Venous insufficiency

Venous insufficiency occurs when valves in your leg stop working. As a result, blood flows backward and collects in the vein. 

Once venous insufficiency develops, it causes high venous pressure in your lower leg veins. The high pressure pushes fluids out of the veins, where they break down your skin and cause a venous leg ulcer.

Peripheral artery disease (PAD)

You develop PAD when cholesterol plaque builds up on an artery wall. As fats continue to collect, the plaque gets larger and blocks blood flow. 

Without enough oxygen-rich blood, an arterial leg ulcer develops. In severe cases, the tissues die and gangrene develops, putting you at risk of amputation.

What early symptoms appear before a leg ulcer?

Varicose veins and leg pain are early warning signs of venous insufficiency and high venous pressure. A skin rash and thick, discolored skin on your lower leg are sure signs that you’re at risk of developing a leg ulcer.

The earliest symptom of PAD is usually leg pain that occurs when you walk and feels better at rest. Venous insufficiency and PAD both cause symptoms like leg swelling, fatigue, and numbness.

How are leg ulcers treated?

Treatment for a leg ulcer must address the underlying condition and the wound. Your personalized treatment plan may include lifestyle changes and medications to relieve pain and treat any underlying problem, whether that’s high cholesterol or high blood sugar.

AMI Surgery may recommend a minimally invasive procedure to eliminate varicose veins and treat venous insufficiency, as one example.

Wound care for a leg ulcer includes: 

  • Compression stockings
  • Wound cleaning and debridement
  • Specialized dressings
  • Antibiotic therapy
  • Bio-engineered tissue substitutes
  • Negative pressure wound therapy
  • Wound care education

At the first sign of venous insufficiency, PAD, or a leg ulcer, don’t wait. Call AMI Surgery or book an appointment online today.

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