Are You at Risk for a Venous Ulcer?
Venous ulcers, open sores that typically form on the ankle or foot, are one of the most serious complications associated with venous insufficiency and varicose veins. Certain risk factors will make some varicose vein sufferers more likely to develop this complication than others. By educating yourself about the risk factors, you can take steps to prevent venous ulcers before they become severe enough to make effective treatment a bigger challenge.
Why Venous Ulcers Occur
To understand the risk factors of a venous ulcer, it is helpful to know why these sores develop in the first place. Venous ulcers are the result of poor circulation in the lower extremities, often due to a condition known as venous insufficiency. Venous insufficiency occurs when small valves inside the veins in the lower legs wear out, causing blood to pool inside those vessels. The affected vessels begin to swell and eventually become varicose.
Venous insufficiency leads to impeded blood flow in the lower legs. When less blood gets to the leg, less oxygen and fewer nutrients get to the surrounding skin and tissue. This can lead to changes in the skin color and textures and over time, a venous ulcer can develop if the thin skin in the area breaks open.
Factors that Put You at Higher Risk
Varicose veins are a common risk factor for venous ulcers, but they are not the only one. Other risk factors might include:
- Obesity – additional weight puts more pressure on the veins, which can further impede blood flow
- Previous leg injury – fractures or other injuries can increase the possibility of a blood clot forming in one of the veins of the lower leg
- History of DVT – deep vein thrombosis or DVT is a condition where a blood clot forms in a deep vein of the body, often the leg, which can increase blood pressure and impede blood flow
- Long periods of immobility – when you are in bed for a long period of time, such as after surgery or during an illness, you increase your odds of developing DVT
- Age – older patients are more likely to develop venous ulcers and the conditions that contribute to them
Treating Venous Ulcers
The good news is venous ulcers are often preceded by telltale signs like leg swelling, pain and skin changes. If you begin to experience any of these symptoms, early treatment of the underlying condition, such as DVT or varicose veins, will reduce your likelihood of developing a skin ulcer. Today, there are effective, minimally-invasive methods for eliminating varicose veins that reduce your risk for complications without putting a major crimp in your daily life.
Venous ulcers are stubborn sores that carry a high rate of infection and recurrence. Early treatment is the best way to keep these ulcerations at bay. To learn more about how to treat varicose veins and their symptoms with minimal discomfort and downtime, contact Advanced Varicose Vein Treatments of Manhattan at 212-204-6501.