What are leg ulcers?

Leg ulcers are long-lasting, open sores that take more than two weeks to heal. Although they can be caused by a number of health issues, 80% ulcers are due to underlying chronic vein insufficiency (or venous disease). Leg ulcers can be painful and are prone to infection. Although they often start with an episode of minor trauma (scratching or banging the leg), without correction of the underlying cause they are difficult to heal and prone to reoccurring. In fact, the longer they are left and the bigger they get, the harder they are to heal.

Varicose consultant Mr Martin Claridge

What are leg ulcers?

Leg ulcers are long-lasting, open sores that take more than two weeks to heal. Although they can be caused by a number of health issues, 80% ulcers are due to underlying chronic vein insufficiency (or venous disease). Leg ulcers can be painful and are prone to infection. Although they often start with an episode of minor trauma (scratching or banging the leg), without correction of the underlying cause they are difficult to heal and prone to reoccurring. In fact, the longer they are left and the bigger they get, the harder they are to heal.

What are the symptoms of leg ulcers?

Our patients report a wide range of symptoms, including:

  • A break in the skin in lower legs, typically just above the ankles
  • Oedema – localised swelling in the legs and feet
  • Varicose Eczema – warm, itchy, scaly / flaky skin
  • Lipodermatosclerosis – discoloured skin (pink or brown) that is fragile, hard or tight in texture

Can leg ulcers cause other health problems?

Aside from being painful and a cosmetic issue, leg ulcers can lead to other, more serious heath conditions including:

Varicose veins

Varicose veins are caused when the valves in our veins weaken and allow blood to flow backwards and pool, creating high pressure and making them enlarge. Subsequently, they are often blue or purple in colour and can be lumpy, twisted or bulging in appearance. Varicose veins can cause heavy and restless legs and feet, as well as pain, itching and dry skin. Click here for more information about this condition and how we can help.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

A blood clot within a deep vein in the leg that can cause pain and swelling. A DVT may lead to more serious complications, such as a pulmonary embolism. This is when a piece of the clot breaks off into the bloodstream and blocks one of the blood vessels in the lungs.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

The good news is that with the right treatment, varicose veins and their associated complications can be remedied.

What leg ulcer treatments do you offer?

Your treatment journey will begin with an initial consultation where our award-winning vascular consultants will perform a detailed examination including a medical history and symptoms overview, and a non-invasive duplex ultrasound scan. This will allow them to fully determine the underlying cause of your condition, and create an all-inclusive, tailored plan that will effectively treat your veins, suit your lifestyle and achieve the results you are looking for.