An ulcer is an area that has lost the covering layer of skin so that the tissues beneath the skin are exposed. Two common leg ulcers, venous and arterial ulcers, have slightly different characteristics that are often confused when not evaluated by a professional.
What is an Venous Ulcer?
Venous ulcers are caused by venous reflux (blood flows backward) and commonly found in the area above the ankle. When the
are not working properly, the blood backs up into the superficial veins, increasing pressure and causing the veins to become elongated and dilated.
Venous ulcer patients often have a history of:
- Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
- Calf muscle pump function deficits
- Valvular incompetence in superficial perforating veins
Characteristics of a Venous Ulcer
- Uneven edges
- Reddish brown pigmentation
- No dead tissue
- Leg may be warm
- Oedema that may leak and cause maceration, varicose eczema, itchy skin and scale
- Moderate to no pain at all
What is an Arterial Ulcer?
Arteriosclerosis of the extremities is a disease of the blood vessels characterized by narrowing and hardening of the arteries that supply the legs and feet. This causes a decrease in blood flow that can injure nerves and other tissues.
Arterial ulcer patients often have a history of:
Characteristics of a Arterial Ulcer
- Well defined edges
- Deep pale base
- Black or necrotic tissue
- Thin, dry and shiny skin
- Thickened toe nails
- Leg may be cool
- May have neuropathy
- Very painful
If you have concerns about your arteries, veins or
bleeding varicose veins
, let the leading Chicago vein doctor at AVLCguide you in the right direction. The Chicago vein specialists at AVLC have over 18 years experience with varicose veins and other vein diseases. If you are considering compression therapy to help with leg pain or bleeding varicose veins, let our Chicago vein specialists help you get back to your active lifestyle.
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