As varicose veins get worse, one of the more common and unpleasant side-effects is the development of venous ulcers.
These are very troublesome for patients as they can be painful or itchy as well as unsightly.
The guidelines given by the NHS include lifestyle advice to improve overall health and quality of life.
Venous Ulcer Lifestyle Advice
NICE – National Institute for Health and Care Excellence Guidelines
The guidelines promote educating the patient about leg ulcers, explaining the rationale for treatment, as well as self-care strategies including:
- Keep active – regular walking is recommended to exercise the calf muscle pump function
- Raise the legs when not mobile
- Avoid trauma (accidents)
- Wear appropriate footwear which fits well
- Use an emollient frequently to moisturise/hydrate the skin
- Check regularly for broken skin, blisters, swelling, or redness
- Healthy lifestyle to promote healing and prevent ulcer recurrence:
- Lose weight (if appropriate)
- Eat a balanced diet with good nutritional balance
- Drink alcohol within recommended levels
- Stop smoking
- Compression bandages/stocking advice
- Wear compressions stockings as advised – ideally for a minimum of 5 years
- Lifelong use of compression stockings may be considered for recurrent venous leg ulcers
- If there are problems with the compression garments, contact the district/tissue viability nurse for advice. Remove the compression if they cause numbness, tingling, pain, or dusky toes. Seek urgent medical advice if this occurs
For more information, please see the full NICE guidelines at https://cks.nice.org.uk/topics/leg-ulcer-venous/#!scenario.
This also states:
“There is very little evidence on the effectiveness of self-care and lifestyle strategies on the healing and recurrence rates of venous leg ulcers. The recommendations are based on good clinical practice. Advice should be given in the context of improving the person’s overall health and quality of life.”
It can be demoralising to discover that the NICE guidelines offer advice on maintenance without hope of a cure or reversal of the condition.
Yet varicose vein removal could be a solution, as it gets to the root of the problem, destroying the inefficient varicose veins and improving the blood flow to the area through other healthier veins, allowing the skin and ulcers to move forward with healing and recovery.
Treating Varicose Veins
Varicose vein treatment on the NHS is restricted to a small number of very severe cases.
However, the latest advanced laser and chemical treatment options are available at Cosmedics’ London Vein Treatment Centres for private patients who are keen to get rid of varicose veins before they get worse.
Treatment is offered on a ‘walk in walk out’ basis with no overnight stay as only local anaesthetic is required. The downtime and recovery are minimal, especially compared with the traditional ‘vein stripping’ which was most commonly carried out on the NHS. Success rates are significantly higher.
- ClariVein® treatment, where a mechanical action causes the vein to spasm and then a special chemical is delivered to seal the vein
- EVLA treatment uses a laser to destroy the veins which are then broken down by the body’s metabolic processes
- Foam sclerotherapy uses a chemical to get rid of smaller varicose and larger thread veins
- Micro surgery is also available. This may be used alongside other treatments, removing the troublesome veins to minimise risk 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.