Venous and arterial ulcers are slow to heal. Without medical care, they can continue to enlarge and put you at risk for a serious infection. Ashley Huddleston, MD, Autumn Savage, DO, CWS-P, and the experienced team at Wound Evolution - Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine in Fort Worth, Texas, provide multimodal treatment for venous and arterial ulcers, using specialized dressings and advanced options such as hyperbaric oxygen therapy. At the first sign of a venous or arterial ulcer, call or schedule an appointment online for expert wound care.
A venous ulcer is a wound that develops when chronic venous insufficiency leads to increased pressure in a vein. Venous insufficiency occurs when one-way valves in the leg vein stop functioning and allow blood to flow backward.
As blood accumulates in the vein, the pressure inside the vein increases. High pressure in your lower leg pushes fluids out of the vein, breaking down the skin, and causing a venous ulcer.
An arterial ulcer forms when atherosclerosis develops in an artery in your leg and blocks blood flow. Without enough blood, skin and other tissue are deprived of oxygen and nutrients — a condition called ischemia. As a result, the tissue dies and an open wound (or ulcer) develops.
The lack of blood also makes it harder for wounds to heal. You may sustain a minor cut that develops into an ulcer because the cut can’t heal.
The two types of ulcers cause different symptoms:
Venous ulcers typically form around your ankle. You may develop symptoms like swelling in your lower leg, leg pain, discolored skin, and itchy, hardened skin. The actual ulcer may be painful.
Arterial ulcers can affect your feet, heels, toes, and ankles. Additional symptoms include hairless skin and leg pain at night. The affected skin feels cold and your leg often turns red when dangled and white when elevated. These ulcers typically cause significant pain.
Ulcers don’t heal on their own. Instead, they continue to get larger or deeper.
Ulcers may not heal for many months without medical care. The longer you have a non-healing ulcer, the higher your risk of developing an infection that can spread and cause a bone infection.
Treatment for venous and arterial ulcers takes a two-pronged approach. You need the appropriate treatment for the underlying condition, as well as specialized wound care for the ulcers.
It’s important to keep ulcers clean and properly bandaged. However, venous and arterial ulcers need different types of dressings. The team at Wound Evolution - Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine chooses the optimal dressing and offers comprehensive care, including services like:
The team at Wound Evolution also teaches you how to take care of the ulcer at home. They show you how to keep the wound clean, change the dressing, and protect the healthy skin surrounding the wound.
If you need treatment for a venous or arterial ulcer, call Wound Evolution - Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine or book an appointment online today.