Understanding Venous Ulcers: A Comprehensive Description

Dec 3, 2023


Welcome to Vein Center of Arizona! In this article, we will delve into the world of venous ulcers, a common condition within the field of vascular medicine. As experienced doctors in our practice, we aim to provide you with a detailed understanding of venous ulcers, including their symptoms, causes, available treatment options, and prevention methods. Let's explore this topic further.

What are Venous Ulcers?

Venous ulcers, also known as stasis ulcers or varicose ulcers, are open sores that occur on the lower leg or ankle. These ulcers develop as a result of poor blood circulation in the veins, specifically in the legs. Unlike other types of ulcers, which may require external injuries to form, venous ulcers form due to the underlying vascular condition.

Symptoms of Venous Ulcers

Identifying the symptoms of venous ulcers is crucial for early detection and prompt treatment. Here are some common symptoms to watch out for:

  • Persistent Leg Swelling: Venous ulcers are often accompanied by prolonged swelling in the affected leg.
  • Discolored Skin: The skin around the ulcer may become discolored, appearing reddish or brownish.
  • Pain and Discomfort: Ulcers can cause pain, especially when standing or walking, and may lead to a general feeling of discomfort.
  • Itching and Inflammation: The affected area may become itchy, and inflammation can occur around the ulcer site.
  • Slow Healing: Venous ulcers tend to exhibit slow healing, often taking weeks or even months to heal completely without proper treatment.

Causes of Venous Ulcers

Understanding the underlying causes of venous ulcers is essential for effective treatment and prevention strategies. The primary cause of venous ulcers lies in chronic venous insufficiency (CVI), a condition in which the valves in leg veins fail to function properly, leading to poor blood circulation. As a result, pressure builds up in the veins, causing them to weaken and form ulcers over time.

Several factors can contribute to the development of venous ulcers:

  • Varicose Veins: Individuals with varicose veins have a higher risk of developing venous ulcers as the presence of these enlarged, twisted veins increases pressure on the valves.
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT): A history of deep vein thrombosis can create conditions that facilitate the formation of venous ulcers.
  • Aging: As individuals age, the risk of developing venous ulcers also increases due to the natural wear and tear on the veins.
  • Inactivity: Lack of physical activity can lead to poor blood circulation and contribute to the progression of venous ulcers.
  • Obesity: Excess weight puts additional strain on leg veins, making them more susceptible to ulcers.

Treatment Options for Venous Ulcers

At Vein Center of Arizona, our experienced doctors offer various treatment options for managing venous ulcers and promoting healing. The treatment plan will depend on the severity of the ulcer and the patient's overall health. Here are some common treatment approaches:

  1. Compression Therapy: This involves applying compression stockings or bandages to improve blood flow and reduce swelling.
  2. Wound Care: Regular cleaning and dressing of the ulcers help prevent infection and facilitate healing.
  3. Mobility and Exercise: Encouraging physical activity aids in enhancing blood circulation and prevents further complications.
  4. Medication: In some cases, medication may be prescribed to manage pain, reduce inflammation, or treat underlying conditions contributing to venous ulcers.
  5. Minimally Invasive Procedures: Advanced procedures such as endovenous laser treatment (EVLT) or sclerotherapy may be recommended to address the underlying vascular issues and promote ulcer healing.

Prevention of Venous Ulcers

While effective treatment options exist, preventing venous ulcers can save you from unnecessary pain and discomfort. Here are some preventive measures to keep in mind:

  • Maintain a Healthy Weight: Managing a healthy weight reduces the strain on leg veins, lowering the risk of developing ulcers.
  • Stay Physically Active: Regular exercise promotes proper blood circulation and aids in preventing venous ulcers.
  • Elevate Your Legs: Elevating your legs periodically throughout the day helps alleviate pressure and improve blood flow.
  • Avoid Prolonged Sitting or Standing: If your job requires long periods of sitting or standing, take regular breaks to stretch and move around.
  • Wear Compression Stockings: Specially designed compression stockings provide additional support to leg veins and can help prevent ulcers.


Venous ulcers are a significant concern within the realm of vascular medicine. Recognizing the symptoms, understanding the causes, and pursuing appropriate treatment and prevention measures can make a substantial difference in managing this condition. At Vein Center of Arizona, our dedicated team of doctors specializes in vascular medicine, providing you with expert care and personalized treatment plans tailored to your unique needs. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and take the first step towards healthier legs.

description of venous ulcer