Legs. For some, they’re considered the sexiest part of one’s body – that is, unless, they’re a pair of legs suffering from venous ulcers.
Woman with painful varicose and spider veins on her legs, applying compression stockings, self-helping herself. Vascular disease, varicose veins problems, painful unaesthetic medical condition concept.
At Fox Vein & Laser Experts, a leader in the treatment of venous diseases and vein removal, we have spent our entire career reversing the effects that venous diseases have on our legs. From spider vein removal to varicose vein removal, we are the Miami vein removal experts you’ll want on your team if you want your legs to score a perfect 10.
There are a multitude of vein-related issues that we treat, but venous ulcers are by far the most severe, and far more common than you may realize. What’s worse, is that venous ulcers are beginning to become a healthcare burden in America. According to the US National Library of Medicine, “Chronic non-healing wounds present a substantial economic burden to healthcare system; significant reductions in quality of life for those affected, and precede often serious events such as limp amputations or even premature deaths. This burden is also likely to increase with a larger proportion of elderly and increasing prevalence of life-style diseases such as obesity and diabetes.”
And as we all well know, people are living longer and obesity and diabetes are more prevalent in our country than ever, making this venous ulcer crisis one that is not about to disappear any time soon.
“Each year, we see a rise in patients with venous ulcers that have been left untreated, making it even harder for wounds to heal. Taking care of your varicose veins before they turn into something far worse is key – when it comes to your health, being proactive goes a lot further than trying to pick up the pieces as a reaction to pain or discomfort,” Dr. Susan B. Fox, owner and founder of Fox Vein & Laser Experts warns.
Here’s what you need to know about venous ulcers, and how to treat the veins in your legs to prevent this from happening.
What are venous ulcers?
A venous skin ulcer is a sore on your leg that’s very slow to heal, usually because of weak blood circulation in the limb. Symptoms include swelling, achiness, and tiredness in the legs. Usually a red, irritated skin rash develops into an open wound.
What causes venous ulcers?
Surely, a venous ulcer does not appear out of thin air. There are warning signs. The veins in your legs have one-way valves that keep blood flowing up toward your heart. When these valves become weak, blood can flow backward and pool in your legs. This is called venous insufficiency.
Risk factors for venous ulcers include:
- Varicose veins
- History of blood clots in the legs (deep vein thrombosis)
- Blockage of the lymph vessels, which causes fluid to build up in the legs
- Older age, being female, or being tall
- Family history of venous insufficiency
- Sitting or standing for a long periods (usually for work)
- Fracture of a long bone in the leg or other serious injuries, such as burns or muscle damage
Signs and Symptoms of Venous Ulcers
- Leg cramping, heaviness, swelling
- Itching and tingling sensation
- Darkened, discolored skin (this is a sign that blood is beginning to pool)
- Leg pain
- Unpleasant odor and leakage from wound if there is an infection
Treatment and Management of Venous Ulcers
The good news is, you don’t have to live in pain or discomfort. While venous ulcers are surely unsightly and tough to deal with, the medically-trained staff at Fox Vein & Laser Experts are perfectly suited to treat your venous ulcers. The main objective, is to restore proper blood flow and circulation to your legs to stop the blood from pooling by ensuring you’re getting enough movement throughout the day. Compression hose can be worn to help prevent blood from pooling, reduce swelling, help with healing, and reduce pain. Compression hose has been used in the treatment of vein issues for over 150 years. This form of hosiery extends up past the knee and works by placing pressure on the veins, forcing blood to circulate appropriately. When lying down at the end of the day, prop your feet up on pillows making sure that they are above your heart. Most importantly, maintain meticulous wound care to avoid infection by:
- Keeping the bandage and/or dressing on the wound dry
- Cleansing the wound thoroughly when changing bandages
- Wearing compression hose over the bandages or dressing
But like we said before, taking proactive measures are key to avoiding venous ulcers and stopping them in their tracks before they event start. One of the best ways to do this is through the removal and treatment of varicose veins, a Fox Vein & Laser specialty.
According to the American College of Phlebology, “There are several adverse consequences of untreated varicose veins, and their severity will vary from person to person depending on their circumstances. Many people who don’t treat their varicose veins will experience continued symptoms of pain, fatigue and swelling of the legs or ankles including More advanced medical problems such as venous leg ulcers, spontaneous bleeding, superficial thrombophlebitis, and a potentially life-threatening condition called deep vein thrombosis. If you’re unsure of the severity of your varicose veins, you should see a vein care specialist, who will be able to determine the severity of your condition and whether treatment is necessary.”
What are the best ways to treat varicose veins?
We have a range of treatments available for varicose vein removal in our offices. Ranging from minimally-invasive to surgical vein removal treatments, we provide multiple options depending on the severity of your varicose veins, including:
Sclerotherapy is a successful vein removal method that has been in use for many years for the removal of varicose veins. It is done by injecting a special solution into the veins that are selected for removal. The solution irritates the vessel walls and thickens the blood in the vein. This safely destroys the vein and makes it turn into a type of scar tissue. The tissue then begins to be absorbed by the body, helping it to gradually disappear from view.
Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA/EVLT)
Endovenous laser ablation, otherwise known as EVLA or EVLT, is one of the most effective treatments for large varicose veins. With a success rate of 98 -100 percent, endovenous laser ablation involves inserting a very thin laser fiber through the affected vein via a tiny incision that typically leaves no scar and requires no sutures. Small pulses of light energy are delivered as the fiber is pulled through the vein, gently heating is and causing it to collapse and seal shut.
For help choosing the best treatment plan for your venous ulcers and varicose veins, contact our Miami vein doctor at Fox Vein and Laser Experts today!