Identifying Leg and Foot Ulcers

Ulcers are open sores that appear on the lower leg and foot. They may be very difficult to treat and have a high recurrence rate. The first step in dealing with these ulcers is identification of the specific ulcer type, which is based on location of the sore, the appearance of the ulcer itself and the appearance of the surrounding skin. This information lets a vascular surgeon know the potential cause of the ulcer, as well as the best possible treatment options.

Venous Stasis Ulcers

Venous stasis ulcers are sores that commonly appear around the ankle. These sores are caused by an underlying condition known as venous insufficiency. Tiny valves inside veins are responsible for moving blood in a single direction, back to the heart. When these valves wear out or become damaged, blood can pool in the lower veins, resulting in varicose veins and venous ulcers.

Venous stasis ulcers are generally red with irregularly shaped borders. The skin surrounding the ulcer may be swollen and there may be discharge from the wound, indicating an infection. Venous stasis ulcers are the most common type of leg and foot ulcers, comprising 80-90 percent of all ulcer diagnoses.

Neurotrophic Ulcers

Neurotrophic ulcers are most commonly found on the bottom of the foot. These sores are the result of a loss of sensation in the foot, usually due to diabetes. Loss of sensation means the individual may not know when an injury occurs to the foot, which can lead to infection and the development of a neurotrophic ulcer.

Neurotrophic ulcers are usually pink or brown, with punched out borders. The skin around the ulcer may be extremely calloused. These ulcers are one of the most common reasons for hospital stays in patients diagnosed with diabetes.

Arterial Ulcers

This type of skin ulcer is often the result of a bone in the foot rubbing against shoes or socks. They can also occur when toes frequently rub together, causing friction on the skin. An arterial ulcer can also be the result of aggressive toenail clipping or a toenail cutting the skin.

Arterial ulcers typically have punched out borders and may appear yellow, grey or brown. They do not usually bleed, but they can be very painful, especially at night. Arterial ulcers often develop as a result of inadequate blood flow, which might be caused by arteriosclerosis (plaque buildup inside the arteries).

Foot and leg ulcers require the expertise of a vascular specialist to ensure effective treatment. In some cases, the underlying vein condition may also require treatment to minimize recurrence. Dr. Ronald Lev at Advanced Varicose Vein Treatments of Manhattan is experienced at treating all types of skin ulcers and uses the most advanced treatment options available. To learn more, contact Advanced Varicose Vein Treatments of Manhattan at 212-204-6501.

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