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Venous Ulcers

Most people have seen someone with lower leg ulcers. These open areas look very painful. They don’t heal well, and they look as if they are just not easy to live with. Health care professionals find them hard to deal with because leg ulcers continue to reappear even after they seemed to have been healed.

What most people don’t know is this important bit of info:  VEIN problems are the source of 80% of leg ulcers, clinically called ‘chronic leg ulcers.’  In venous reflux or venous disease the blood flows backward and pools. This pooling allows for imbalanced hydrostatic and osmotic forces and these forces then irritate the tissues which release chemicals. This leads to an inflammation process and eventually skin breakdown.

Some will ask, “why is this important to me, I just have varicose veins?” Many patients who visit Minnesota Vein Center already have warning signs, even on their first visit.  Being aware of these signs can help you prevent ulcers.  While most ulcers are venous related, other ulcers (approximately 20%) are associated with diabetic or arterial disease.

So, you say, “tell me the WARNING SIGNS of venous ulcers!” The following changes occurring anywhere between your knee and your ankle:

  • Dryness or thickening of the skin
  • Discoloration such as redness or brown (hyper-pigmented) areas
  • Achiness and pain

Varicose veins are, of course, possible warning signs. Varicose veins are frequently hereditary. Varicose veins or a family history of varicose veins, or leg ulcerations may alert you to future lower leg ulcerations. Early diagnosis and intervention is the key to preventing leg ulcerations.

The most effective way to diagnose venous disease and venous ulcer is with a duplex Doppler ultrasound and is available in-office.  By starting your intervention or treatment early, you will have the best outcome.

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