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Why Did I Get a Leg Ulcer?

Jul 01, 2023
Why Did I Get a Leg Ulcer?
Wondering why you developed a leg ulcer? Here’s what you need to know about the risk factors of leg ulcers and effective treatments for relief and healing.

Leg ulcers are a common condition that can cause significant discomfort and negatively affect your quality of life. Dr. David D. Shin, MD, RVT, RPVI, FACS, and the dedicated team of medical professionals at Houston Vein Specialists in Houston, Texas, offer the following information about leg ulcers, their underlying causes, and how to find relief from the symptoms.

What are leg ulcers? 

leg ulcer is an open sore that develops on the leg, usually below the knee and near the ankles. Leg ulcers can be painful and take a long time to heal. Left untreated, leg ulcers may become infected. 

While there can be multiple causes for leg ulcers, chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) is the most common.

Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) can cause leg ulcers

Chronic venous insufficiency occurs when the leg vein valves fail to function correctly, causing blood to pool in the lower legs. The extra blood puts excessive pressure on the veins, a condition called venous hypertension, which stretches and weakens the veins over time. As a result, blood flow in the legs becomes impaired, leading to leg ulcers.

Additional risk factors of leg ulcers

In addition to CVI, other conditions increase your risk of developing leg ulcers, including:

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

DVT refers to blood clots in the deep veins of the legs. The clots can obstruct blood flow and cause long-term damage to the veins, sometimes leading to leg ulcers.

Trauma or injury 

Sometimes a leg ulcer may develop due to trauma or injury to the leg. People with previous injuries, such as fractures or burns, are at a higher risk of developing ulcers.

Peripheral arterial disease (PAD)

Although less common, peripheral arterial disease can also contribute to developing leg ulcers. PAD occurs when the arteries that supply blood to the legs become narrowed or blocked, impairing blood flow and leading to tissue damage.

How are leg ulcers treated?

Our experienced medical team will conduct a thorough evaluation, including a physical examination and diagnostic tests, to determine the underlying cause of your leg ulcer and the appropriate treatment. Ultrasound is used to visualize the veins.

Treatment options may include:

  • Compression therapy
  • Venous ablation
  • Wound care
  • Eliminating unhealthy veins with ClosureFast, VenaSeal, or phlebectomy procedures

You can help reduce the risk of recurring leg ulcers with weight management, regular exercise, and avoiding prolonged periods of standing or sitting. 

Get treatment for your leg ulcer

Leg ulcers can be painful and disruptive to daily life, but they are treatable. Our dedicated team is committed to providing personalized care and effective treatment options for leg ulcers. Contact us today or schedule an appointment online at our office in Houston, Texas.