Venous leg ulcers are sores that develop on the leg and heal very slowly, typically due to poor circulation through the limb. The sore may persist for only a few weeks, or it may last for years. There are preventative steps you can take to keep from getting them. Venous leg ulcers can cause more serious issues if they're untreated. The condition occurs when the veins in your leg fail to send blood adequately back to your heart. The built-up backflow of blood increases the pressure at the end of your leg, which weakens this skin. In turn, it's more difficult for a scrape or cut to heal. These ulcers often occur on bony areas like the ankle.
Clean And Dress The Ulcer
One of the most important first steps is to clean and dress the ulcer. With any abrasion of the skin, you want to make sure the wound is cleaned. Improper wound care can allow bacteria to gather in the wound, which then leads to infection. If your ulcer becomes infected, you might have to take antibiotics to kill the bacteria. To clean the ulcer, run it under cold water with a damp washcloth before using an anti-infection cream.
Since the wound breaks the skin, cover it with a bandage. You should be able to find bandages and anti-infection creams at your local drugstore. It's also possible to make homemade bandages by taping down a pad of sterile gauze. As the ulcer takes an increased amount of time to heal, be sure to intermittently replace the bandage and make sure the wound is still clean.
Compression Socks And Bandages
The most common treatments to address a venous leg ulcer are compression socks and bandages. Compression socks can also be found at your local drugstore. These stockings gently compress the legs and narrow blood vessels, causing blood circulation to improve. It will also help decrease leg swelling. If you get a notice from your doctor that you have a medical reason for the compression socks, it may be possible to get a reimbursement from your insurance company. Compression medical equipment comes in bandages as well. You can wrap these around your ankle to compress it and decrease swelling, thereby improving your overall blood circulation. Since venous leg ulcers heal slowly because of poor circulation, the best treatment method is to address the circulatory problem.
Elevate The Legs
Most doctors will recommend elevating the legs as much as possible. This is a common treatment for circulatory issues and swelling in the legs. The best part about elevation is it doesn't require you to spend money on medications or set up puzzling medical equipment. You can elevate your legs by laying in bed with your legs on a pile of pillows, or otherwise putting your legs on a surface raised higher than your head.
Elevating your legs allows blood to flow back to your heart without needing to fight gravity. In cases regarding venous leg ulcers, doctors will usually recommend raising the affected leg about a half hour each time, three to four times every day. If you work in an office, you may be able to make accommodations if you get a note from your doctor explaining the necessity.
Moisturize To Reduce Itchy Skin
One of the most irritating symptoms of a venous leg ulcer is itching. It's important to moisturize to reduce itchy skin. Itching your ulcer is a good way to break the skin and undo the healing process. Plus, your fingernails will introduce bacteria to the wound. Most individuals are familiar with the feeling of a skin abrasion itching as it heals. With venous leg ulcers, the itching lasts much longer due to the delayed healing process, and your skin may become dry and flaky as it heals. The newly-healed skin will be reddened and irritated, thus, invest in a decent moisturizer made for taking care of dry skin. Look for products specifically created to soothe and cool itchy, inflamed skin. If you itch a venous leg ulcer, you may increase your healing time from a few weeks to more than a year.
Stay Active Through Walking
There are many reasons why blood circulation may not be as strong as it should be. Leading a sedentary lifestyle makes poor circulation more likely. If you go to the office, come home, and fall asleep on the couch, your circulatory system isn't getting the chance to perform. An active lifestyle is perhaps the best way to promote healthier circulation, as getting your heart rate up increases your overall circulation. If you stay active, you also increase the blood flow in your legs. Try to walk for a minimum of twenty minutes a day, three days a week. More is ideal, but this is a good baseline. You can walk around your neighborhood, office building, or on a treadmill at the gym.