Varicose veins are unsightly, and sometimes painful, but these bulging veins are also associated with sores, known as venous stasis ulcers. These venous ulcers are the most common cause of sores on the legs, affecting about one percent of the population in the United States.
Venous ulcers usually start as a dull ache or pain in the lower leg, swelling that improves when the individual puts her feet up, eczema of the surrounding skin, and varicose veins. These sores often develop near bony prominences, especially at the gaiter area on the inner calf just above the ankle. A brown pigment may develop at the gaiter area; this discoloration results from blood leaking out of blood vessels, which deposits a permanent, destructive compound into surrounding tissue.
In some cases, severe tissue damage leads to loss of skin tissue. When the body loses large areas of skin, doctors refer to the remaining raw skin as an ulcer.
The Association between Varicose Veins and Venous Ulcers
Blood performs many functions, including delivering oxygen to body cells and carrying toxins away from those cells. Without a constant supply of fresh blood, body cells become starved for oxygen and overwhelmed with toxins.
Every beat of the human heart pushes blood through arteries, veins, and capillaries. Gravity helps the circulatory system as it delivers blood downward to the feet. On the other hand, gravity makes it more difficult for the body to bring blood from the feet back up to the heart. Special valves ease the body’s fight against gravity by trapping blood until the next heartbeat pushes the blood forward. When valves malfunction, blood flows backwards and pools in weak sections of veins. The areas served by this vein suffocate, and will suffer damage caused by the accumulation of toxins.
Proper treatment can reduce damage caused by varicose veins and venous ulcers. Your assisted living facility representative or home health care provider can help you treat venous ulcers to reduce further skin loss. Contact Always Best Care for more information.