Vein ulcers are also called stasis ulcers and varicose ulcers. They are wounds that are usually found on the lower part of the leg, which is why they are also called leg ulcers. A large percentage of leg ulcers is caused by venous insufficiency. This means the valves in the veins that push the blood back to the heart are not working properly, causing blood to pool in the veins.
Severe and long-lasting cases of venous stasis may develop an ulcer or wound if the leg is traumatized or the person scratches the area. If the skin becomes broken, an ulcer may form that is difficult to heal because of the poor blood circulation.
Causes and Risk Factors of Vein Ulcers:
Hereditary is one of the main causes of venous insufficiency, but there are other causes.
- Deep vein thrombosis, a condition in which a thrombus or blood clot forms in the deep veins in your legs.
- Obesity puts excess pressure on the leg veins, making it even more difficult for the blood to get to the heart.
- Smoking damages blood vessels, which makes smokers at high risk for venous diseases, including clogged arteries in the legs that decrease blood flow to the legs. Venous disease caused by smoking may be reversed when the person quits smoking and does a specific exercise regimen.
- Lack of exercise is unhealthy for many reasons, but exercise, especially walking, helps the muscles in the legs push the blood back to the heart. When there is no help from physical activity, there is greater risk of venous insufficiency.
- Hours of standing and hours of sitting. Standing for long periods makes the valves and veins work harder against gravity. Sitting for long periods may block circulation altogether.
Symptoms of Vein Ulcers
The first symptom that a vein ulcer may form is darkened skin. It may be dark red or purple and may be a sign that blood is leaking out of the vein. The skin may become dry and itchy, which could be dangerous because if you scratch the area, you could break the skin and cause bleeding. This may be the beginning of an ulcer.
If you get a small wound that becomes infected, it may emit a foul odor and pus. You should see our doctor immediately. We will diagnose your problem and explain your options for healing the ulcer as quickly as possible. We will also help you treat the other symptoms of venous insufficiency to help get your legs back in good shape.
Treatment of Vein Ulcers
Treatment for vein ulcers involves controlling the high pressure in the leg veins and treating the ulcer. At the Miami Vein Center in Miami, we offer several different treatments to improve the blood circulation in your legs, from compression stockings to endovenous ablation therapy.
If you suspect that you have the beginning of venous insufficiency or already have spider and varicose veins apparent on your legs, it is recommended that you have a consultation with us so your symptoms can be treated before vein ulcers appear. Contact the Miami Vein Center today to schedule your appointment to learn more with our board certified vascular surgeon Dr. Jose Almeida.