5 Warning Signs of a Leg Ulcer

5 Warning Signs of a Leg Ulcer

Leg ulcers are a common problem that often form due to a lack of blood flow in the lower leg, and your risk of leg ulcers increases with age. If you have a condition that raises the risk of leg ulcers, such as diabetes, it's important to know the warning signs. Left untreated, leg ulcers can lead to serious health complications.

 At CA Heart and Vein Specialists, board-certified cardiovascular physician Majed Chane, MD, provides comprehensive care for a full range of heart and vascular conditions, including leg ulcer treatment. In this post, we discuss five common leg ulcer warning signs you should know about.

Sign 1: You have poor circulation in your leg

Poor circulation can lead to severe complications. You're at risk of a leg ulcer if you suffer from certain conditions such as peripheral artery disease (PAD) or diabetes, which can reduce blood flow and cause a slow-healing wound to develop. 

Sign 2: You have a leg wound that doesn’t heal

If you notice a bruise or wound on your leg that doesn’t seem to heal, it's important to see a doctor right away. This could be a sign of a developing leg ulcer. 

Sign 3: The skin on your leg is dry, cracked, or scaly

The skin on your leg can dry out and become cracked and scaly if you have poor circulation. This makes your skin more vulnerable to infection and increases your risk of developing a leg ulcer.

Sign 4: You feel pain or burning in your leg

Dull, aching pain in your leg or a burning sensation is often an early warning sign of an ensuing leg ulcer. It’s also a sign of poor blood flow.

Sign 5: You have swelling in your leg

Swelling in your legs can be a sign of many different medical conditions, including PAD and diabetes. If you experience swelling in your leg, it’s a good idea to have a doctor take a look at it.

Complications of leg ulcers

Leg ulcers can be painful and may lead to other serious health complications if not treated properly. The following are potential complications of leg ulcers.

Infection: The most common complication of leg ulcers is infection, which can be serious and potentially life-threatening. That’s why it’s crucial to have leg ulcers treated right away.

Cracks: A break or tear in the outer layer of skin can be a warning sign of a leg ulcer.

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT): Leg ulcers may lead to deep vein thrombosis, which occurs when blood clots form in your legs. It's a serious condition that can be life-threatening.

Amputation: Without treatment, a leg ulcer can develop a serious infection that could lead to amputation.

Getting treatment for leg ulcers

Compression therapy is a mainstay in treating leg ulcers. This involves daily pressure on the affected area with elastic stockings that you wear continuously, except when washing or bathing. Doctors often prescribe antibiotics to prevent and treat infection.

You should see a doctor at the first sign of a leg ulcer. Leg ulcers are serious, and if left untreated they may lead to more complications. If you're suffering from an ulcer on your leg that's not healing properly, contact our office for treatment options today. 

Anyone at risk of leg ulcers should have a vascular specialist as part of their care team. We have experience treating all types of leg wounds, including venous stasis disease and arterial insufficiency diseases, and we can help you stay on top of your vascular health. Call our office in Huntington Beach, California, to schedule a visit with Dr. Chane, or request an appointment online today.

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