varicose vein leg ulcers

How Do Varicose Veins Cause Leg Ulcers?

A Common Complication

Leg ulcers are one of the more common complications that occur with varicose veins and can cause great discomfort and distress for the patient.

In fact, venous disease is the most common underlying problem for chronic leg ulcers and is said to account for around 80% of all leg ulcers.

Leg ulcers are usually caused by an injury or wound that breaks the skin. It is often quite minor to begin with – something that would normally heal within a week or two – but instead the wound fails to heal properly and becomes ulcerous.

Venous leg ulcers are caused by varicose veins that have broken down. Very simply, inefficient veins means that the skin does not receive a good blood supply. Without blood supply, the skin cannot heal properly and ulcers begin to form, most commonly on the shin and ankle areas.

A leg ulcer is a long-lasting sore which can be expected to take over 4-6 weeks to heal. Symptoms include discomfort, swelling, pain and itching. The skin can become hard and scaly and there may be a discharge and/or change of colour.

Treatments for Leg Ulcers

Non-surgical treatments for leg ulcers include:

  • Raising Legs – elevating the limb lowers pressure on the leg veins, so patients should put their feet up higher than their heart
  • Compression bandages/stockings – tight bandages or compression stockings may be recommended to reduce the pressure on the veins while the ulcers heal
  • Cleaning/dressing – to avoid infection and help the wound heal
  • Antibiotics – may be required if the ulcer is infected, but these alone won’t heal the ulcer
  • Walking – a daily walk is advisable to help boost blood circulation

The NHS suggest that even with a trained healthcare professional’s treatment, it can take 3-4 months for venous leg ulcers to heal.

Treating Varicose Veins

As the main underlying cause of leg ulcers, treating varicose veins is a potential solution to the problem, especially if the leg ulcers are very large and have not responded to non-surgical treatments.

Varicose vein leg surgery is no longer the major operation it was. Advanced laser and chemical treatments are now available which on a ‘walk in walk out’ basis with no overnight stay.

Cosmedics’ London Vein Treatment Centres offer a range of solutions which only require local anaesthetic and can be completed in a relatively short period of time with minimal downtime/recovery implications. Options include:

  • New ClariVein® treatment, which combines a mechanical action causing the vein to spasm with a special chemical to seal the vein
  • EVLA treatment uses a laser to destroy the veins in question. The procedures takes as  little as 20-30 minutes and the dead tissue is naturally processed by the body’s metabolism, leaving smoother clearer skin
  • Foam sclerotherapy uses a chemical to block and thus destroy smaller varicose and larger thread veins, so that blood flows through other, healthier veins
  • Micro surgery is also available at the London Vein Treatment Centres, to complement other treatments by physically removing the troublesome veins to minimise any chance of recurrence

London Vein Treatment Centre

Varicose & Thread Vein Treatment

Cosmedics Skin Clinics offer private treatment for thread veins  and varicose veins at their London Vein Treatment Centre. They also offer varicose vein ultrasound scanning for proper diagnosis of any ‘underlying’ vein problems.

For more information or to book a consultation, please complete the form on this web page or call 020 7386 0464.

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