A Leg Ulcer is a sore on your leg or foot that takes a long time to heal. They often develop on the inside of your leg, just above your ankle. Ulcers can be caused by problems with your blood vessels. If the blood isn't flowing as it should, it can increase the pressure in your blood vessels, which can damage your skin and lead to ulcers.
Most leg ulcers are caused by a disease of the veins in your leg, which are called venous leg ulcers. Veins carry blood from your body and back to your heart. An arterial leg ulcer is caused by a problem with your arteries – blood vessels that carry blood away from your heart. Conditions such as diabetes can cause leg ulcers too.
Symptoms of a leg ulcer include pain, itching and swelling in your leg. Your skin around the ulcer may be discoloured or hardened and the sore may produce a foul-smelling discharge too.
Treatment for a leg ulcer usually involves using compression bandages to improve the flow of blood in your legs. If your artery or vein is blocked, you may need surgery. There are two main operations.
- Angioplasty. The blocked or narrowed section of your blood vessel will be widened by inflating a tiny balloon inside the vessel. We have specialised facilities at the Vascular Centre to guide the balloon to your blood vessels in minimally invasive (endovascular) surgery using a catheter (thin tube).
- Bypass graft. Blood vessels will be taken from another part of your body and used to bypass the blockage in your blood vessel.
After your treatment, our rehabilitation team will discuss your recovery with you before you go home. They will also give you advice on how to get back to normal.