If you notice problems in your legs, like a change in the skin color, the beginning of an ulcer, or pain, schedule a vein evaluation with Dr. Rodolfo Farhy at the Heart and Vein Center. These symptoms are signs of venous insufficiency, which must be managed early to prevent venous ulcers. When venous ulcers go untreated, they may become progressively worse and difficult to heal. To schedule a vein assessment, call the doctor’s office in Lathrup Village, Michigan, or book an appointment online.
A venous ulcer, or stasis ulcer, is a skin ulcer that develops on your leg due to underlying problems in leg veins. Venous ulcers are significant health concerns because they’re painful, very difficult to heal, and recur frequently. The most common cause of venous ulcers is a condition called chronic venous insufficiency.
Chronic venous insufficiency develops when valves inside leg veins are weak or damaged. Veins must return blood to your heart. To accomplish that task, valves open to let blood flow up the leg, then close to stop it from flowing backward.
When valves don’t work properly, blood flows backward and pools in the veins, leading to chronic venous insufficiency.
Chronic venous insufficiency is caused by:
When chronic venous insufficiency develops, you’ll likely have pain that feels better when you walk or elevate your legs. Other possible symptoms include:
Chronic venous insufficiency leads to changes in the skin of your lower legs, including hardened or thickened skin, inflammation of the fat beneath your skin, redness, and small white areas. Venous ulcers develop in areas where you notice skin changes.
A venous ulcer begins as a shallow, painful area where the skin begins to erode, usually over a bone like the ankle. Since they’re difficult to heal, the ulcer gradually worsens. You may develop inflammation, swelling, skin discoloration, and a progressively larger and more painful ulcer.
An open venous ulcer can persist for a few weeks or many years. After the ulcer heals, it often recurs. Ongoing ulcers increase your risk for complications such as infection, cellulitis, and osteomyelitis.
Venous ulcers require multimodal treatment that includes:
Dr. Farhy identifies the underlying condition using ultrasound to evaluate circulation in your legs. Then he may recommend intervention in the form of an endovenous laser, radiofrequency ablation, ambulatory phlebectomy, or ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy, depending on your diagnosis.