Venous Ulcer


This is an open sore that usually forms on your leg above your ankle. Venous ulcers can be painful, and they can become infected. They are often slow to heal.


What causes venous ulcers? They develop because of poor blood circulation in your legs. When the veins of your legs have trouble pushing blood back up to your heart, blood pools in them. Tissues are starved of oxygen and nutrients. Cells begin to die, and sores form on your skin.


Before venous ulcers form, you may have warning signs. You can have thinning skin, itchiness and swelling in your legs. Your skin may turn a dark red, purple or brown color. It may harden. Then, one or more sores form. A venous ulcer is shallow, with uneven borders. The skin around it may be shiny, tight, discolored and warm.

Treatment and prevention

We treat venous ulcers the way we treat any wound. But because they're so slow to heal, you're better off stopping the sores from forming in the first place. To lower your risk, eat a healthy diet and get regular exercise. Manage your blood pressure and cholesterol. If you smoke, quit. And if you're overweight, work to lose the extra pounds. Your healthcare provider will create a plan that's right for you.