Wound Type: Venous Leg Ulcer

What is a venous leg ulcer?

A leg ulcer is a long-lasting (chronic) sore that takes more than 2 weeks to heal. They usually develop on the inside of the leg, just above the ankle.

Symptoms can include itching, pain and swelling in the affected leg.

There may be discoloured or hardened skin around the ulcer, and the wound may produce a malodorous exudate.

A venous leg ulcer (VLU) is the most common type of leg ulcer, accounting for more than 90% of all cases.

What causes venous leg ulcers?

Venous leg ulcers occur due to disease or disruption in the normal function of the veins, known as chronic venous insufficiency (CVI).

Venous leg ulcers can develop after a minor injury, where persistently high pressure in the veins of the legs has damaged the skin.

When the venous system is working effectively, venous valves direct blood back to the heart, preventing flow backwards. This blood flow is assisted by muscles in the calf.

Problems occur when damaged valves allow blood to flow back towards the ankle, which increases pressure. This increase in pressure can cause oedema of the leg, fragility of the skin, and increase the risk of leg ulceration.

How can venous leg ulcers be treated?

Treatment of a venous leg ulcer can differ from patient to patient, and it is recommended that a Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) approach should be implemented.

For most venous leg ulcers treatment should include:

  • Cleaning and dressing of the ulcer with an appropriate wound dressing, such as MaxioCel
  • The use of compression therapy to not only assist in healing of the ulcer, but also to minimise the risk of recurrence.
  • Lifestyle changes including the patient keeping as active as possible.
  • Care of vulnerable periwound skin

 

A recent clinical evaluation carried out in Israel found MaxioCel to support successful outcomes in the treatment of venous leg ulcers, including speed of healing, reduced pain and improved quality of life.

The case study will be available for download soon – contact us to request a copy of this case study. 

 

 

90%

of all leg ulcers are accounted for as venous leg ulcers

References

Lim C SBaruah MBahia S SDiagnosis and management of venous leg ulcers doi:10.1136/bmj.k3115
Wounds UK (2019) Best Practice Statement:Addressing complexities in the management of venous leg ulcers. London: Wounds UK. Available to download from: www.wounds-uk.com
Harding K, et al. Simplifying venous leg ulcer management. Consensus recommendations. Wounds International 2015. Available to download from www.woundsinternational.com