If you have poor circulation in your legs, which becomes more likely as you grow older, the blood flow through the lower parts of your body, especially your calves and ankles, becomes sluggish. You may already have varicose veins . In addition, any small injury or crack that appears in the skin is unlikely to heal because the tissues are filled with stagnant fluid and are not getting enough fresh blood. The injury or crack enlarges and gradually becomes a varicose ulcer. The condition is common in the elderly and in pregnant women.
What are the Symptoms?
The ulcer is shallow, it weeps, and it may have pus in the center. Once it has formed, it may remain unchanged, or constantly keep healing and returning. The most common site for a varicose ulcer is the skin on the inside of the leg, just above the ankle. Quite often both legs are affected. The skin around the ulcer becomes red, flaky and itchy, and the ankles often swell. The ulcer may persist for months, or even years. If you think you have a varicose ulcer, see your physician and also adopt the self-help measures described below.
What is the Treatment?
Self-help: Whenever you sit and relax at home, raise the affected ankle. Sleep with your feet higher than your chest. This can be done by raising the foot of your bed about 20 cm (8 in). Avoid standing for long periods of time, and exercise moderately by taking walks on a regular basis.
Professional help: Your physician may suggest that you wear a knee-high elastic bandage or thick elastic stocking during the day. If the ulcer is severe, the doctor or nurse may teach you to clean it with a mild antiseptic, and cover it with a dressing. This should be done frequently.
If the ulcer fails to heal, your physician may coat it with a white paste and then bandage it up. In some cases this still fails to clear up the problem,and you may be advised to go into the hospital for a few weeks there you can rest in bed in the proper position, and your ulcer will be constantly observed and treated as necessary .to hasten healing ,a skin graft may be needed.