Leg and Foot Ulcers

Ulcers are exposed open wounds which are slow to heal.

Causes of Ulcers Factors that can cause ulcers in the lower limbs are:
  • 1 Peripheral Vascular Disease
  • 2 Varicose veins/venous incompetance
  • 3 Previous Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
  • 4 Diabetes
  • 5 Trauma
  • 6 Tumours
  • 7 Infection
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Diagnosis of Ulcers

The diagnosis of ulcers is made with a thorough history and examination of the patient and an ultrasound of both the arteries and veins in the leg.

Treatment of Ulcers

Aim to:

  • Correct the underlying cause of the ulcer
  • Improve blood flow to the area
  • Promote healing of the ulcer

Treatment will depend on the involvement of arteries or veins in the disease process.

Venous Ulcers

The most common leg ulcers are due to venous disease in the lower limbs. Treatment involves debridement or removal of any dead or necrotic tissue, cleaning the ulcers and then applying suitable dressings and bandaging to the leg. Compression stockings and bandages over the affected leg are used to improve venous circulation and reduce swelling (oedema).

Education of the patient to assist them to understand how to manage the dressings, exercise, diet, pain relief and foot health is extremely important. The healing process of ulcers can take 3-4 months in some cases.

Our practise has a trained Specialist Wound Care Nurse who has years of experience in treating all types of leg ulcers.

Occasionally surgical treatment of the venous disease is required to help heal the ulcer.

Arterial Ulcers

It is important to exclude arterial disease as a possible cause or contributing factor to a leg ulcer. This is done with a physical examination and also using a doppler machine that compares the blood pressure (BP) at the arteries of the ankle to the BP at the arm (brachial). This measurement is called the Ankle Brachial Index (ABI). A low ABI is an indication of peripheral arterial disease that will require treatment to allow ulcer healing.

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