Venous stasis ulcers are wounds that typically appear on your legs below the calf.
The condition is usually chronic, and it can last for years. Side effects of the condition can lead to infection and reduced mobility, so have your venous ulcers treated early for best results. If you notice problems with your leg veins, the experts at the Varicose Vein Center of New York City have a range of treatments available. Call today for an examination. An ulcer is an open sore, either inside or outside on your skin. It is also known as stasis or varicose ulcers. They can appear yellow, blue, gray, or red. Over time, these sores can open and create a wound on the surface of your skin.
Roughly one percent of the American population is affected by this health condition. An open sore from an ulcer can last for weeks or even years, eventually turning into a chronic condition. Untreated, skin ulcers can lead to complications such as cellulitis, bone infections, or even malignant tumors.
The good news is that this health condition can be successfully treated by an experienced vein specialist. Because of the specialized training required, though, choose a vein doctor who has undergone the required education, such as Dr. Dmitry Gorelik at the Varicose Vein Center of New York City.
Causes of Venous Ulcers
Venous stasis ulcers occur when a leg vein valve malfunctions enough to cause blood pooling in your leg. Blood leaks into the surrounding tissue during muscle contractions. The excess blood in your leg causes pain, shallow sores, and discoloration of the surrounding skin.
Poor circulation is the main cause of the problem, but anything that impedes your circulation —like smoking or deep vein thrombosis development —can lead to an ulcer. Other common causes include:
- Blood clots. Blood clots hinder circulation, cause blood to pool, and distend the veins. If a faulty valve is present, blood even flows backward.
- Varicose veins. Untreated, bulging blue veins in your legs can create the right environment for ulcers to form.
- Injury. Sports or other impact injuries can damage blood vessels and prevent proper blood flow.
- Aging. As blood vessels age, they become more susceptible to injury and heal more slowly.
- Obesity. Excessive weight increases pressure on your veins, which restricts blood flow and causes venous hypertension.
- Venous insufficiency. A malfunctioning valve hinders the flow of blood through your leg vein back toward your heart. Pooling blood puts pressure on the vein walls. The veins can eventually leak blood into the surrounding blood vessels or tissue.
Venous Stasis Ulcer Symptoms
A deep purplish coloring on your skin that looks like a bruise is the first indication that an ulcer is forming. Your skin around the area sometimes becomes rough, itchy, and unusually dry. If you have varicose veins or even minor spider veins, consult with Dr. Dmitry Gorelik for treatment because these conditions are precursors to ulcers. Once an ulcer forms, you experience:
- Achy legs
- Odors, if the ulcer is infected
- Pus draining from the wound
Visit the Varicose Vein Center of New York City to treat your ulcer. Dr. Gorelik, your New Jersey vein specialist, diagnoses a venous stasis ulcer by examining the area and using a duplex Doppler ultrasound to find the source and cause of the ulcer before recommending the best ulcer treatment.
Venous Stasis Ulcer Treatments
Treatment methods vary based on the severity of your ulcer. Options begin with conservative management techniques, such as:
- Elevation. Elevating your legs encourages your blood to flow away from the ulcer, reducing pressure on the vein and preventing complications. For elevation to work, your legs must be higher than your heart.
- Compression. Elastic, inelastic, and intermittent pneumatic compression therapies increase venous reflux, minimize edema, improve ulcer healing, and relieve pain. Compression socks maintain proper blood flow and keep your blood from pooling.
- Weight loss. If you’re overweight, your doctor may recommend weight loss as a preventive and therapeutic treatment of venous ulcers.
- Dressings. Applied under compression bandages, medicated dressings speed healing time and prevent the bandage from sticking to your skin. Foam, gel, and hydrocolloid dressings are available.
When these conservative methods don’t relieve your discomfort or eliminate the ulcer, your doctor may initiate other treatments, such as:
- Mechanical treatment. Vacuum-assisted closure, otherwise known as topical negative pressure, involves applying a special foam dressing to the ulcer. The negative pressure improves circulation.
- Laser therapy. Bursts of light energy heat the walls of a damaged vein, causing it to shrink and collapse. The blood flows through nearby healthier veins after treatment. It’s a safe and effective method for venous ulcer prevention and treatment.
- Sclerotherapy. During sclerotherapy, Dr. Gorelik injects a chemical solution into damaged veins to make them shrivel and collapse. Sclerotherapy is a safe treatment option, and most ulcers heal within four to eight weeks after the procedure.
- Radiofrequency therapy. Similar to laser therapy, radiofrequency therapy, also called RFA, uses radio waves to collapse the walls of damaged veins, closing them and preventing future ulcers.
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Prevent Future Venous Stasis Ulcers
If you’ve undergone venous skin ulcer treatment, you’re at a higher risk of developing them again. Your NYC vein doctor may recommend several preventive measures to avoid a reoccurrence, including:
- Stopping smoking. Cigarette smoke constricts veins and causes them to stiffen, which increases the risk of future damage.
- Maintaining your ideal weight. Excess weight stresses your body and adds pressure to your veins.
- Wearing compression socks. Your NYC vein specialist recommends the best support hose for you.
- Treating varicose veins. Ulcers are best treated in the earliest stages, so don’t let the problem go untreated.
- Avoiding inertia. Sitting or standing for too long can cause blood to pool. To improve blood circulation, exercise, or change positions frequently.
Based on your age, health status, and the severity of your vein condition, Dr. Dmitry Gorelik recommends which venous ulcer treatment is best for you. Contact the Varicose Vein Center of New York City today to schedule a vein consultation. Choose from three convenient locations: Parsippany, Old Bridge, or Sayreville.