Untreated chronic wounds can limit mobility and lower quality of life.
Lower extremity ulcers affect many adults with poor circulation. While they’re fairly common, the healing process can be difficult. Even once they’re healed, they have a high recurrence rate. They take a lot of care and frequently become infected and grow, causing pain and limiting mobility. Leg ulcers rarely heal on their own, so ongoing medical treatment from a clinician might be required. Despite the complications so often associated with chronic wound healing, quality of life doesn’t have to be affected. The different types of lower extremity ulcers and common wound care tips for these include:
Venous stasis ulcers:
Venous stasis ulcers are damage and skin loss on the legs due to problems with the underlying veins. They’re usually found below the knee on the inner part of the leg. They’re shallow and red but may be covered in yellow tissue. These wounds tend to drain a lot as well. Venous stasis ulcers are most prevalent in people with a history of leg swelling, varicose veins or blood clots. They’re the most common of leg ulcers, but more so in women than men. If you’re suffering from venous stasis ulcers, leg elevation and compression therapy may provide sources of relief.
Also known as diabetic ulcers, neuropathic ulcers can actually affect anyone who has impaired sensation in their feet due to neurologic disorders or Hansen disease. They usually occur on the foot, most commonly on pressure points that are prone to blisters. Diabetic ulcers are typically caused by prolonged pressure or trauma to the foot. Extra attention, like regular diabetic foot exams, must be paid to prevent the formation of neuropathic ulcers. They don’t heal on their own. Wound debridement may be recommended from your clinician before a neuropathic ulcer can fully heal.
Arterial (ischemic) ulcers:
Most people who suffer from arterial ulcers have cardiac or cerebrovascular disease. These foot wounds are deep, sometimes exposing tendons, and usually located on bony prominences, the heel or between toes. These wounds can be very painful, but rarely bleed.
Pressure ulcers are most common in patients with limited mobility and occur on body parts that have prolonged pressure applied to them such as the hips, tailbone and heels. Skin pressure limits blood flow to the area and the skin eventually dies. While pressure sores are most likely to occur in older patients because their skin is more fragile, people with spinal or brain injuries can develop them as well.