FAQ - Leg Ulcer
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i have a stasis ulcer on my leg, the infection is gone but it itches. how can i stop the itching?

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Does anyone know what is the best way to treat leg ulcers?

I am a polio survivor and have bad healing power in my left leg, Ive tried rest and diet. but nothing seems to work. My doctor says it is getting worse. Any advice would be really appreciated.

If the Dr. states it's getting worse, there is a possibilty of infection.
Has your Dr. prescribed an antibiotic?
If the wound is "healthy" and you have granulation tissue in the ulcer, it will look bright red and beefy, with exudate, small or large, try a product by Johnson & Johnson called Fibracol. It's 90% collagen and 10% calcium alginate. Put that directly on your skin. It comes in a sheet form. Cover with gauze pads and wrap with roll gauze. Secure with tape.
If there is secondary strike through in the gauze wraps. Change everything as needed.
Contact your Dr. with insurance info and have clinic contact a DME-durable medical equipment-and have them supply you, they can also bill your ins. co.

Good luck!  (+ info)

What the hell is this thing on my leg?

I have this bulging ulcer looking thing on the inside of my right leg about 6 inches up from my ankle. It looks like a vein has broken through the skin. It doesn't hurt but it looks and feels really weird. I heard it may be a "varicose ulcer" but I'm not sure. Once, it dried out and, not paying attention, I scratched at it cause it was itching like a scab and blood shot out of it like crazy. It was dark so I didnt get to see if it was pumping out like you'd imagine your heart pumping the blood, but it made a deep blood stain on my bed about a foot long and few inches wide. I keep thinking I would bleed to death. It kind of freaks me out. Any idea what it is and if I'm in danger?

Go to the doctor. That you haven't already, makes me wonder if you have a death-wish.  (+ info)


I get leg ulcers they appear as bubbles on my legs. When they break open fluid (mostly water) comes out, then it gets painful and bigger and as always it gets infected. So, why do doctors treat it like a burn when I did not burn myself? I always wear compression socks and have my feet raised. And what causes Cellulitis and why do I always get it and how do I prevent it from happening again.

Cellulitis is simply the term for inflammation to the cellular tissue under your skin. Most anytime one has a wound the area around it becomes red and inflammed. That's cellulitis.

Ulcers in the lower legs are very common in diabetics, and very troublesome. The circulation to your extremities is compromised by your disease and that causes the blisters, sores and ulcers. The most important thing you can do is increase circulation to the area. Something we used to do is massage lotion into the feet and legs once a day ... twice is better. This isn't just rubbing lotion on. It needs to be massaged into the skin until it's totally absorbed. The massage is what causes increased circulation to your feet and legs, the lotion just makes is easier to do without pulling on the skin so much.

When you wash your feet, in your bath or shower, pay close attention to them. Dry thoroughly, between the toes, around the nail cuticles, etc. Your doctor probably has some literature about diabetic foot care. If not you can look it up on the internet.

Best of luck to you!  (+ info)

my grandma's had an ulcer for over ten years which has not healed...they finally decided to cut off her leg?

she requires weekly transfusions and this small subcutaneous ulcer got infected with MRSA, but they said they got rid of it. they are 100% sure its not diabetes-related (which i was ABSOLUTELY sure was the cause of it up until now but then again i don't see her much) they are also sure its not necretizing fasciitis or syphilis-related. she passed the full std scan and is negetive for HIV as well. i'm only 18 and don't know much about medicine but my best guess is it could be one of the less-severe forms of leprosy because the lesion as i remember it (the last time i saw her was probably a good 4 or 5 years ago however) looked just like a tuberculoid leprosy lesion. i'm curious for anyone who has any medical education whatsoever to tell me what you think as she lives in the middle of nowhere and doctors have no clue whats wrong so they're just gonna amputate. she's got a week before the surgery.

also are there any forms of leprosy which can result in a single, non-necrotic, subcutaneous lesion? just out of curiosity i want to rule my theory out too seeing as its not diabetic and i have no clue what else it could be.

also a little background information she is kinda for lack of a better term crazy in the aspect that she rejects all modern medicine and takes about 1000 dollars worth of vitamins every week and i believe she's a vegan now too. she refused to go to a hospital for over 10 years to get this thing looked at and apparently now its too late so its her own fault and i knew it was gonna happen sooner or later but if the doctors up there in bumblefuck say they've gotten rid of the mrsa and don't know whats wrong, i'd like to at least find out if someone has any idea, haha

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What is the difference between venous and arterial leg ulcers?

I know that arterial is arteries and venous is veins, what will you see?


Arterial and Venous refers to the origin of the ulcer.

Venous ulcers originate due to the veins (in the leg) becoming stretched, with leaky walls and valves. This leads to excess fluid in the tissues which slows down oxygen and nutrient transfer, making it difficult for the skin to perform it's vital functions (such as repairing skin damage).

Arterial ulcers (long-term breakdown in the surface of the skin) are caused, basically, not by the veins failing to remove excess fluid, but by the arteries failing to supply enough oxygen and nutrients to keep the tissues alive.
Arterial woulds are generally more difficult to treat and often more painful, particularly when lying down (eg in bed at night)

What they look like:
Venous leg ulcers tend to occur in the gaiter area of the lower legs - this is the bit of your leg from the ankle to the top of mid-length socks. They tend to be very shallow, like the surface skin is missing. You may also see the skin stained dark red or tan in this area and may have swollen ankles.

Arterial ulcers tend to be deeper and may appear lower on the leg and on the foot. They may smell more, and may be quite pale rather than healthy pink.

The treatment is very different: Venous ulcers are often treated with firm support bandaging, called compression. Compression may make arterial ulcers worse and cause additional damage.
Both form of disease may be present at the same time, making treatment more complicated

If you are diabetic, get professional advice immediately.  (+ info)

i have a leg injury kinda like an ulcer and i need a medical coverage that can cover people with prior injury?

i need a strong medical opinon

Go to the hospital. While there, ask to see the Social Worker, or whoever they have to assist the uninsured. If you are low income, there may be programs to help cover the cost. The caseworker will know. Good luck.  (+ info)

Anyone used Septiclense on leg ulcers?

I have a problem clearing up a leg ulcer that does not respond to conventional medical treatment.I have been advised to use a product called Septiclense,normally used for the treatment of wounds etc. on animals,to treat my ulcer.
Does anyone know of the the use of this product for human use?

Website states following:-Developed to control and inhibit immediately any existing or possible challenge from airborne or contact germs resulting from minor external wounds, grazes or skin punctures that need on the spot attention.
I don't think this is going to work for you.Yours is not a minor wound.
Buy a small pot of Manuka honey from your local health food shop and spread some on a clean dressing and apply to ulcer.
Bandage firmly and leave untouched for a few days as long as its not discharging..
The secret with leg ulcers is not to keep disturbing the dressing and bandage firmly from toes to knees--You can get a tubular bandage from chemist-Tubigrip to cover that area and apply on top of your dressing.
It is also important that you put your leg up on a stool when sitting so that the ulcer is rested and try not to stand in one position for too long.
Walking is good for your leg circulation.  (+ info)

leg ulcer growth on leg?

my mother aged 55,developed alittle white lump
after her mother died in beaumont hospital 5 years ago,was never sore,hence she took no notice ,started to turn red then alittle scab would form,when the scab falls off it still is a little red,with either blood or a little puss comming out,then a scab forms again.slightly rasied but very small.
at moment she has put antiseptic cream on and plaster but is still weeping,but not sore ,it just wont heal no matter what she does,the actual is that of a small coin....really worried

has this ulcer area come from a bang on the leg or grown from a spot or broken bruised skin you need to go see your dr to see if your skin is weakened for some reason because I don t know your age or any medical conditions I don t know if you are diabetic or have immunity problems it may stem from that for now though clean it with none scented soap and pad dry and cover with a sterile dressing depending on the size but if it is oozing and looks bad you would be advised to go to your local a &e and get it checked out avoid any infection good luck  (+ info)

i am looking for a specialist who knows anything about gravatational leg ulcers and how to treat them?

i have 2 gravtational ulcers on my left ankle. i have a history of dvt's in both legs and have seen many dr's regarding this problem. i am looking for help in regards to a specialist who can treat and or heal these for me. i have extreme amount of pain with these ulcers and have no quality of life what so ever.i am 36. and male.

Leg ulcers
What are leg ulcers?
Leg ulcers skin loss on the leg or foot due to any cause. They occur in association with a range of disease processes, most commonly with blood circulation diseases. Leg ulcers may be acute or chronic. Acute ulcers are sometimes defined as those that follow the normal phases of healing; they are expected to show signs of healing in less than 4 weeks and include traumatic and postoperative wounds. Chronic ulcers are those that persist for longer than 4 weeks and are often of complex poorly understood origin.

Ulcers may be provoked by injury or pressure such as from a plaster cast or ill-fitting ski boot. They may also be caused by bacterial infection, especially impetigo, ecthyma and cellulitis and less often tuberculosis or leprosy.

Chronic leg ulceration affects about 1% of the middle-aged and elderly population. It most commonly occurs after a minor injury in association with:

Chronic venous insufficiency (45-80%)
Chronic arterial insufficiency (5-20%)
Diabetes (15-25%)
Chronic leg ulcers may also be due to skin cancer, which may be diagnosed by a skin biopsy of the edge of a suspicious lesion. There are also many less common causes of ulcers including systemic diseases such as systemic sclerosis, vasculitis and various skin conditions especially pyoderma gangrenosum.

What causes leg ulcers?
Venous insufficiency refers to improper functioning of the one-way valves in the veins. Veins drain blood from the feet and lower legs uphill to the heart. Two mechanisms assist this uphill flow, the calf muscle pump which pushes blood towards the heart during exercise, and the one-way valves which prevent the flow of blood back downhill. Faulty valves and impaired calf pumping action result in pooling of blood around the lower part of the leg to just below the ankle. The increased venous pressure causes fibrin deposits around the capillaries, which then act as a barrier to the flow of oxygen and nutrients to muscle and skin tissue. The death of tissue cells leads to the ulceration.

Arterial insufficiency refers to poor blood circulation to the lower leg and foot and is most often due to atherosclerosis. In atherosclerosis the arteries become narrowed from deposits of fatty substances in the arterial vessel walls, often due to high levels of circulating cholesterol and aggravated by smoking and high blood pressure (hypertension). The arteries fail to deliver oxygen and nutrients to the leg and foot resulting in tissue breakdown.

Diabetic ulcers are caused by the combination of arterial blockage and nerve damage. Although diabetic ulcers may occur on other parts of the body they are more common on the foot. The nerve damage or sensory neuropathy reduces awareness of pressure, heat or injury. Rubbing and pressure on the foot goes unnoticed and causes damage to the skin and subsequent ‘neuropathic’ ulceration.

Who is at risk of leg ulcers?
Certain conditions have been linked with the development of venous and arterial leg ulcers.

Venous ulcers Arterial ulcers
Varicose veins
History of leg swelling
History of blood clots, e.g. deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
Sitting or standing for long periods
High blood pressure
Multiple pregnancies
Previous surgery
Fractures or injuries
Increasing age and immobility
High blood fat/cholesterol
High blood pressure
Renal failure
Rheumatoid arthritis
Clotting and circulation disorders
History of heart disease, cerebrovascular disease or peripheral vascular disease

Diabetic ulcers are more likely if diabetes is not well controlled by diet and/or medication. Ulcers are also more likely if there is poor care of the feet, badly fitting shoes and continued smoking.

What are the signs and symptoms of leg ulcers?
The features of venous and arterial ulcers differ somewhat.

Characteristics of venous ulcers:

Located below the knee, most often on the inner part of the ankles.
Relatively painless unless infected.
Associated with aching, swollen lower legs that feel more comfortable when elevated.
Surrounded by mottled brown or black staining and/or dry, itchy and reddened skin (gravitational or venous eczema).

Venous ulcers

Characteristics of arterial ulcers:

Usually found on the feet, heels or toes.
Frequently painful, particularly at night in bed or when the legs are at rest and elevated. This pain is relieved when the legs are lowered with feet on the floor as gravity causes more blood to flow into the legs.
The borders of the ulcer appear as though they have been ‘punched out’.
Associated with cold white or bluish, shiny feet.
There may be cramp-like pains in the legs when walking, known as intermittent claudication, as the leg muscles do not receive enough oxygenated blood to function properly. Rest will relieve this pain.

Diabetic ulcer
Neuropathic ulcer
(Spina bifida)
Traumatic ulcers (paraplegic)

Diabetic ulcers have similar characteristics to arterial ulcers but are more notably located over pressure points such as heels, tips of toes, between toes or anywhere the bones may protrude and rub against bedsheets, socks or shoes. In response to pressure, the skin increases in thickness (callus) but with a minor injury breaks down and ulcerates.

Infected ulcers characteristically have yellow surface crust or green/yellow pus and they may smell unpleasant. There may be surrounding tender redness, warmth and swelling (cellulitis).

What is the treatment for leg ulcers?
Where possible, treatment aims to reverse the factors that have caused the ulcer. As ulcers are often the result of both arterial and venous disease, careful assessment is needed first.

Venous leg ulcers, in the absence of arterial disease, are usually treated with exercise, elevation at rest, and compression. Compression must not be used if there is significant arterial disease, as it will aggravate an inadequate blood supply. Varicose vein treatment may also help.

A vascular surgeon should assess patients with arterial leg ulcers as they may require surgery to relieve the narrowing of the arteries.

It is also very important to treat underlying diseases such as diabetes and to stop smoking.

Cleaning the wound
No matter what the cause of the ulcer, meticulous skin care, and cleansing of the wound are essential. The removal of surface contamination and dead tissue is known as debridement. Surgical debridement or medical debridement using wet and dry dressings and ointments may be used. Maggots and larval therapy are occasionally recommended. Debridement converts the chronic wound into an acute wound so that it can progress through the normal stages of healing.

Treating infection
Antibiotics are not necessary unless there is tissue infection. This is likely if the ulcer becomes more painful and/or the surrounding skin becomes red, hot or swollen (cellulitis). Cellulitis may also result in fever and sickness. It should be treated with oral antibiotics such as flucloxacillin – the choice will depend on the causative organism. Topical antibiotics are best avoided because their use may result in increased antibiotic resistance and allergy.

Wound dressings
There is a whole range of specialised dressings available to assist with the various stages of wound healing. These are classified as non-absorbent, absorbent, debriding, self-adhering and other. Consult an expert in wound healing to determine the most suitable; this will depend on the site and type of ulcer, personal preference and cost.

Dressings are usually occlusive as ulcers heal better in a moist environment. If the ulcer is clean and dry, occlusive dressings are usually changed weekly; more frequent changes are avoided as dressing changes remove healthy cells as well as debris. Contaminated or weeping wounds may require more frequent dressing changes, sometimes every few hours. Honey dressings can be helpful.

Accelerate wound healing
Wound healing requires adequate protein, iron, vitamin C and zinc. Supplements may be prescribed if they are deficient in the diet.

New products to aid wound healing are available but require further research to determine their effectiveness. These include:

Growth factors and cytokines
Hyperbaric oxygen to increase tissue oxygen tension
Skin graft substitutes
Connective tissue matrix
Expanded epidermis
Epidermal stem cells
V.A.C. (vacuum assisted closure) device
In some patients, the ulcers fail to heal by themselves and require plastic surgery. The procedure typically involves taking skin from elsewhere on the patient's body and placing it over the ulcer (skin grafting). Despite this procedure, it is not uncommon for the ulcer to recur.

Compression therapy
Compression therapy is an important part of the management of venous leg ulcers and chronic swelling of the lower leg. Compression therapy is achieved by using a stocking or bandage that is wrapped from the toes or foot to the area below the knee. This externally created pressure on the leg helps to heal the ulcer by increasing the calf muscle pump action and reduce swelling in the leg.

Several options are available to achieve compression:

Several layers of bandage (3 or 4-layer bandage compression system)
Shaped tubular bandage
Elastic graduated compression hosiery (stockings)
Unna boot (gauze bandage impregnated with zinc oxide)
Can leg ulcers be prevented?
To prevent leg ulcers and to promote healing of ulcers:

Be very careful not to injure your legs, particularly when pushing a supermarket trolley. Consider protective shin splints.
Walk and exercise for at least an hour a day to keep the calf muscle pump working properly.
Lose weight if you are overweight.
Stop smoking.
Check your feet and legs regularly. Look for cracks, sores or changes in colour. Moisturise after bathing.
Wear comfortable well-fitting shoes and socks. Avoid socks with a tight garter or cuff. Check the inside of shoes for small stones or rough patches before you put them on.
If you have to stand for more than a few minutes, try to vary your stance as much as possible.
When sitting, wriggle your toes, move your feet up and down and take frequent walks.
Avoid sitting with your legs crossed. Put your feet up on a padded stool to reduce swelling.
Avoid extremes of temperature such as hot baths or sitting close to a heater. Keep cold feet warm with socks and slippers.
Consult a chiropodist or podiatrist to remove callus or hard skin.
Wear support stockings (compression hosiery) if your doctor has advised these.  (+ info)

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