WHAT IS A VENOUS STASIS ULCER?

According to the National Institutes of Health, venous ulcers (open sores) occur when veins in the
legs do not push blood back up to the heart properly. Blood pools in the leg veins, building up
pressure. If not treated, this increased pressure and excess fluid can cause an open sore to form.
Usually, these venous ulcers develop on the leg, above the ankle and can be slow to heal.

What prompts this to happen?
Your leg veins have one-way valves that keep blood flowing up toward your heart. If these
valves become weak, blood can flow backward, pooling in your legs. Called ‘venous
insufficiency’, this excess fluid causes an increase in the blood pressure of your legs. Increased
pressure prevents nutrients and oxygen from getting to tissues, causing cells to die,
damaging tissue, and forming a wound.

What Are The Symptoms?
Blood pooling in the veins of the lower leg results in fluid and blood cells leaking out into the
skin and other tissues. This causes itchy, thin skin is called stasis dermatitis and is an early sign
of venous insufficiency.

Other early signs include:

●Leg swelling, heaviness, and cramping
●Dark red, purple, brown, hardened skin (this is a sign that blood is pooling)
●Itching and tingling

Symptoms of venous ulcers include:

●Shallow sore with a red base, sometimes covered by yellow tissue
●Unevenly shaped borders
●Surrounding skin may be shiny, tight, warm or hot, and discolored
●Leg pain

If the sore becomes infected, it may have a bad odor and pus may drain from the wound.

Who is At Risk?

People with varicose veins
Those with a history of blood clots
Patients with blockage of the lymph vessels
Older people, women, or tall people
Folks with a family history of venous insufficiency, the obese, the pregnant, smokers
Those who sit or stand for long periods
Anyone with a fracture of a long bone in the leg or other serious wounds such as burns or muscle
damage