Leg ulcers or venous leg ulcers usually refer to long-lasting wounds in the lower leg. These are caused due to problems in blood flow through the veins of a leg.
There are many different treatment strategies for healing stubborn leg ulcers. Topical creams and ointments are the easiest methods.
What Causes Leg Ulcers?
Leg ulcers generally develop due to circulatory issues. These circulatory issues are common in patients suffering from diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and other vein diseases. Leg ulcers can also be caused by some bacterial infections.
Leg ulcers are often accompanied by yellow or green fluids leaking out of the wound. In some cases, there are abnormal smells. The area around the wound also gets itchy and dry and abnormal skin thickness and texture can be noticed.
But leg ulcers should not be ignored as just external wounds. If left untreated for too long, a leg ulcer can develop into deadly diseases like necrotizing fasciitis or bone infections.
Topical treatments for leg ulcers
Leg ulcers need to be treated by medical professionals. Sometimes in less severe cases, topical treatments are recommended. Topical treatments include foam dressings, alginate dressings as well as anti-microbial dressings.
Foam dressings are preferred because they can be molded to fit the shape of the leg perfectly and also keep the wound are at an optimum level of moisture to encourage healing. Alginate dressings are useful for absorbing huge quantities of fluids from the wounds and allow them to heal faster. Antimicrobial dressings protect the ulcers from getting infected.
Besides these dressings, some topical creams are also available specially designed to treat leg ulcers. Creams with urea are good moisturizers. They prevent the area around the ulcer from becoming too damaged.
Some popular store brands that are used for leg ulcers are Sorenzo Bed Sore Prevention Gel, Varco Leg Care Topical Phyto Oil, Opexa Gel. But before using any of these treatments it is essential to consult a medical practitioner. Treatment of leg ulcers can vary depending on skin type and severity of the ulcers.
Other treatments for leg ulcers
Leg ulcers are a painful, long-term problem that requires proper treatment in order to prevent them from reoccurring.
- The first step of treating a leg ulcer is debridement of the affected area. Once all the dead tissue is removed the area is cleaned with a sterile solution and a clean dressing is put on it.
- Compression bandages are another common treatment for leg ulcers. Since leg ulcers occur due to a lack of proper blood flow in the legs, compression stockings basically squeeze the leg and force the blood to flow upwards from the leg up to the heart. But compression bandages need to be used very carefully, as a too-tight bandage can cut off circulation and cause serious problems. Always use only the specific bandages recommended by a doctor and consult the doctor immediately in case of any discomfort or numbness or inflammation.
- Leg ulcers that occur due to circulation problems can also cause the foot and ankle to swell up. Doctors often recommend keeping the leg elevated for parts of the day to prevent fluid build-up at the foot. Light exercise like walking is also recommended to improve blood flow in the legs.
- A common complaint of people with leg ulcers is itchy skin around the ulcers. In some cases, this can be due to allergic reactions to the medicines or dressings being used to treat the ulcer. It is important to consult a dermatologist in case of any redness or rashes that develop. But in most cases, leg ulcers are accompanied by varicose eczema, which can cause extremely itchy skin. Eczema is treated by a dermatologist prescribed mild topical steroids.
- With wounds like leg ulcers, there is always a very high chance of infections. So doctors often treat their patients with a course of antibiotics to kill any bacteria festering in the wound.
Leg ulcers are often ignored as just a skin issue. But they may indicate deeper underlying causes. Untreated leg ulcers can also cause very serious health problems. So in case, you develop any wounds that don’t heal in a day or two immediately consult a doctor and complete the entire course of treatment diligently.