Leg Wounds & Venous Stasis Ulcers
We diagnose and treat leg wounds and ankle ulcers (sometimes called venous stasis ulcers or venous insufficiency) at Encompass Healthcare and Wound Medicine in West Bloomfield, Michigan and we do it in our outpatient office so that you don’t have to go to the hospital.
Leg wounds and ankle ulcers can result when there is poor blood return back up to the heart. This poor blood return circulation is called “venous insufficiency” because the valves inside the leg veins are not working sufficiently enough to prevent gravity related blood to flow back down toward the feet. This occurs when the vein walls have weakened to the point where there are insufficient to squeeze fluids up the leg against gravity and blood seeps back down past the valves and pools into the lower legs. Consequently, even a minor break in the skin below the vein valves can become ulcerated and non-healing.
Treatments for leg wounds, ankle wounds, and venous stasis ulcers:
The treatment for leg and ankle venous stasis ulcers begins with decompression therapies to move the fluids that have leaked out of the valves into the surrounding tissues back into the veins.
At Encompass Healthcare, we utilize four forms of decompression therapies:
Compression bandaging with unna boots.
Multilayer compression wrapping.
Manual lymphatic drainage.
Pneumatic compression pumps.
In addition, we now offer ultrasound-guided venous ablation, which is an office procedure and completely dissolves the problem vein leading to the underlying reason why your wound may not be healing.
Risk Factors for Leg Wounds, Ankle wounds, and Venous Stasis Ulcers
• Age over 50.
• Low blood pressure.
• Varicose veins.
• Being tall.
• Muscle weakness.
• A previous injury to the legs.
• Family history of venous insufficiency.
• History of deep vein thrombosis (blood clots) in the legs.
• Being female.
• Sitting or standing for long periods.
The symptoms of venous insufficiency include:
A dull aching, heaviness, burning, throbbing or cramping in the legs.
Leg pain that gets worse when standing.
Pain that gets better when legs are raised.
Flaking, itching or tingling on the legs or feet.
Swelling of the legs.
Redness of the legs and ankles.
Skin color changes around the ankles.
Varicose veins on the skin surface.
Thickening and hardening of the skin on the legs and ankles.
Ulcers on the legs and ankles.
A wound that is slow to heal on the legs or ankle.
How do I tell whether my ulcer is from venous insufficiency or arterial insufficiency?
Raising legs (typically swollen) above the heart helps symptoms of venous insufficiency where lowering the legs off the side of the bed helps the pain of arterial insufficiency. A simple ultrasound performed in our office or a transcutaneous oximetry (TCOM) test can easily identify arterial insufficiency as well as possible coexisting venous insufficiency.