Leg ulcers aren't uncommon, especially if you suffer from peripheral vascular disease or diabetes. Poor blood flow to your legs and feet may lead to open sores or ulcers that are slow to heal.
The ulcers are more than a nuisance, though — they may become infected if you aren’t careful. Proper care of the wound ensures it heals without complications.
If you're dealing with a leg ulcer, the Spine and Orthopedic Center of New Mexico team is here to help. Dr. Magdy Issa is our specialist in the office.
Dr. Issa is an experienced podiatrist with years of experience treating chronic conditions like venous leg ulcers.
Understanding venous leg ulcers
Venous leg ulcers are sores on your lower legs caused by a buildup of pressure in your veins. Ulcers are common when you have a condition that causes poor circulation in your legs and feet.
When you have poor circulation, the blood in your legs doesn't return to your heart as quickly as it should. The blood sits in your veins, causing a buildup of pressure in your vessels. When that pressure doesn't let up, it causes an open sore on your skin, usually down by your ankle.
If you have a venous leg ulcer, it's likely from damaged valves in your leg veins. This damage happens from various medical conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Kidney disease, smoking, and high cholesterol may also lead to venous insufficiency.
Early signs of venous leg ulcers include heaviness in your legs and swelling. Itching around the area is expected, along with tingling in your legs. You may notice the skin becoming discolored and tough as the blood sits in your legs.
If you're at risk for a venous leg ulcer, proper care of your legs and skin is vital to ensure you don't end up with a slow-healing wound.
Home care for an ulcer
With the proper care, a leg ulcer can heal successfully on its own. However, it isn’t a quick process and requires you to be diligent about your wound care.
If you have an ulcer, the best thing to do is to come to see Dr. Issa for an evaluation. He helps you understand what's happening with your skin and gives you wound care instructions to enable your wound to heal.
Home care instructions given by Dr. Issa include:
- Clean the wound regularly
- Keep the wound covered
- Wear compression stockings
- Change your dressing regularly
- Keep the skin around the wound dry
- Prop your feet up during the day
- Walk daily to improve blood flow
You must follow his wound care steps closely. Venous leg ulcers are complicated to eliminate and may become infected without the proper care.
If you notice that your wound isn't healing correctly, contact the team right away. Dr. Issa may need to intervene in your care for a swifter recovery.
When to seek medical care
Your leg ulcer may heal on its own without surgical or medical intervention. However, if you notice anything out of the ordinary, you must seek medical help. Signs of a problem with your leg ulcer include:
- Significant pain
- A foul smell from the wound
- Bleeding from the wound
- You have a fever or chills
- Cloudy or discolored drainage
- Redness around the wound
- Swelling or warmth on your leg
Fever, redness, swelling, and foul drainage from your wound indicate an infection. Prompt treatment helps you avoid complications from an infected leg ulcer. If you're worried your leg ulcer is infected, see Dr. Issa right away.
Don't attempt to treat your leg ulcer alone; call our office in Roswell today at 575-623-9101, or book an appointment on our website using our convenient scheduling tool.