Four stages of development of varicose ulcers on the lower leg 


Every November, American Diabetes Month helps raise awareness of this common disease. Roughly 9.4 percent of the population has diabetes. However, of the 30.3 million cases in the U.S., 7.2 million are undiagnosed. One of the many effects of the disease is the development of ulcers.

What Is an Ulcer?

An ulcer is an open sore caused by either a break in mucous membrane or skin, often accompanied by accumulation of pus, pain and tissue disruption. While they can form on internal as well as external body surfaces, sores linked with diabetes most often arise on the outer skin of the lower extremities.

External and lower extremity ulcers can be broken down into three distinct categories: arterial, diabetic and venous. Diabetes is an underlying cause for both diabetic and arterial types. While venous types are not directly tied to diabetes, they can result from repercussive vein diseases and abnormalities.

Arterial Ulcers

Arterial (or “ischemic”) ulcers are the result of insufficient blood supply to the affected area. These account for roughly 15 percent of leg ulcers. A combination of high blood pressure, narrowing of arteries and a buildup of deposits hinders blood supply. When tissues receive an inadequate supply of oxygen and nutrients, skin cells begin to die and break down. They are deep, pale, dry and associated with intense pain.

Diabetic Ulcers

These occur in patients with peripheral neuropathy on various parts of the foot. Ultimately, nerve damage that arises from consistently high blood sugar levels disrupts communication between the brain and distant limbs. Blood vessels become damaged, and there is a severe reduction in blood sent to the feet, decreasing the nutrients and immune-fighting cells to these areas.

Additionally, the ability to detect pain and touch is partially disabled, enhancing the risk of wounds leading to infection due to neglect and lack of awareness. These sores are deep and red, and they are often accompanied by diminished sensation.

Venous Ulcers

Approximately 1 percent of Americans experience this condition at least once throughout their lives. These sores develop from an increase in pressure in the small blood vessels surrounding a site of injury. Over time, the high pressure damages the skin and leads to insufficient blood supply (as with the other types). Venous disease causes roughly 80 percent of all leg ulcers, primarily through malfunctioning valves.

If you have varicose veins, proper treatment can cure and help prevent venous ulcers. Living with a wrapped ankle/foot/leg or an Unna boot and visiting wound care centers does not have to be a reality. VeinInnovations treats venous ulcers with the same procedure we perform for venous reflux disease, since ulcers are also a symptom of incorrect blood flow. This procedure dries the ulcers up, allowing them to heal. If you have questions or want more information, contact the team at VeinInnovations today. Our expert staff can offer customized treatment to help your vein health issues.