Types of Leg Ulcers
There are three types of ulcers. Understanding the difference between the types of ulcers will help determine your diagnosis and how to treat you. Ulcers can be painful and frustrating. We want to help. The main categories of ulcers are named by their causes as follows:
If you have a history of deep venous thrombosis (DVT), stroke or miscarriages, you may be at risk for venous ulcers. Also, a history of obesity and multiple pregnancies is associated with venous ulceration. Ulcers are usually painful upon prolonged standing.
Ulcers are usually located at or above the ankles (gaitor distribution).
Pain is usually mild to moderate and the borders of the ulcer are usually irregular and shallow.
Skin surrounding the ulcer usually has a darker pigmentation. Skin may also be itchy.
Legs may swell and you may see prominent veins.
Typically, people with known venous disease obtain venous duplex ultrasonography for diagnosis.
If you have a history of cigarette smoking, diabetes, high lipids, or intermittent pain in your legs when walking, you may be at risk for arterial ulcers.
Ulcers are usually located in places where there may be pressure on the tissue (e.g., heel) or in the toes.
Borders or more defined and look like they are “punched out.” Occasionally there is an area of blackish appearance in the wound (necrotic eschar).
Skin surrounding the ulcer is usually shiny with thin skin and hair loss.
Pulses in the affected limb may be weak or absent. The leg may also become pale when raised.
Typically, people with known arterial disease obtain ankle brachial indices, CT scans or MRI’s for diagnosis.
If you have a history of diabetes or another cause of peripheral neuropathy, you may be at risk for neuropathic ulcers.
Similar to arterial ulcers, neuropathic ulcers are located at sites of pressure (e.g., heel). Toes may or may not involved.
Ulcers are usually painless.
Ulcers have well defined borders and look “punched out.”
Skin around the ulcer is usually thickened.
Often, there is decreased sensation (peripheral neuropathy).
Typically, people with neuropathic ulcers have a history of neuropathy often caused by diabetes.
What are the treatment options for ulcers?
Several nonsurgical and surgical treatment options are available for each of these types of ulcers. The goals of treatment are to reduce your symptoms now and reduce long term complications that may occur if left untreated. NVP has Vascular Specialists to diagnose and treat your condition in a comfortable outpatient setting. Take care of yourself now and live the life you deserve. Heal your ulcers.
Contact us today.