What Causes Venous Ulcers and How Do You Treat Them

Share this post

“Ulcer.” Even if you aren’t quite sure what that word means, chances are good when you hear it, you writhe and make a face of disgust. You know it’s something that sounds painful and gross, and guess what — you are right.

Ulcers are not a pleasant thing, especially when they happen to your legs. In fact, those types of ulcers (called venous ulcers) are the most common ones. And they tend to occur right above the ankle.

What causes venous ulcers?

The driving force behind the development of venous ulcers is damaged valves in your leg veins.

When these valves become damaged, the blood pressure in your veins gets off-whack, thus causing blood to flow back down to the foot, rather than up to the heart. As a result, pressure builds up, harming both your veins and your skin. That pressure keeps your blood from flowing properly and causes blood to pool in your feet and your legs.

And that is what puts you at risk of developing ulcers.

However, that is not the only way you can develop these ulcers. Here are a couple of others:

Chronic venous insufficiency

This occurs when your legs are unable to get the blood back up to your heart, thus causing it to pool in your legs. This pooling leads to swelling, and that swelling can be so intense at times that it causes ulcers.

Varicose veins

Damaged veins can lead to varicose veins, which are a result of blood pooling in your lower legs. And, that pooling can lead to ulcers if not treated properly.

How do you know if you have venous ulcers?

There are a number of symptoms that go along with venous ulcers. They include things such as:

  • Wounds that ooze fluid
  • Pain
  • Random bleeding
  • Funky smell

If you note any of these symptoms, the best thing to do is to schedule a consultation with a vein specialist. Venous ulcers will not treat themselves — they will only get worse over time if you do not get them treated properly.

Examples of Vein Disease

How do you treat venous ulcers?

First and foremost, ensuring you get your veins checked out at the first sign of any possible ulcers is absolutely necessary. Without immediate attention, the infections can make the problem even worse, and keep you from properly healing.

Here are some of the things you will need to do if you are suffering from venous ulcers:

  • Clean the area regularly
  • Dress the ulcer
  • Wear compression stockings to keep veins from pooling
  • Treat the area with topical medicine to prevent infection
  • Stay away from products that could be leading to skin sensitivity

There are some with venous ulcers, however, where dressing the area just is not enough. Some venous ulcers may require removing the tissue that has been damaged. This happens via laser surgery and is a very simple procedure.

At Vein Clinics of America, we perform endovenous laser ablation treatment (EVLA), and this does wonders for problematic veins. This outpatient procedure is a quick and mostly painless procedure that takes less than an hour and requires no hospitalization.

Learn the 12 most commonly asked questions about EVLA here.

And the success rate of EVLA is great — it has shown to be successful for 98% of patients the first time around. Post-procedure, once the skin returns to its normal state, the chances of the ulcer returning are very slim.

If you’ve got any symptoms that even hint at the possibility that you may have venous ulcers, do not wait. Find a Vein Clinics of America location near you so that you can get your veins back on track before things get out of hand.

Find a clinic in your city today.

Medically Reviewed by

Dr. Satish Vayuvegula
Dr. Satish Vayuvegula is the National Medical Director at Vein Clinics of America. Certified by the American Board of Venous & Lymphatic Medicine, Dr. Satish Vayuvegula is recognized as a physician who has met rigorous standards of knowledge and extensive training in phlebology, the diagnosis and treatment of varicose vein disease and related disorders. Dr. Satish also shares his passion and expertise by serving as a board member of the American Vein and Lymphatic Society, the predominant national organization for venous and lymphatic disease.

Say goodbye to painful varicose & spider veins

Have a Vein Clinics of America network physician examine your legs and recommend a treatment program customized to your specific condition.

Schedule your consultation now

Over 50 locations in 14 states

See map of all clinics