An open sore on the leg that is slow to heal, often arising from poor blood circulation in the affected area.
There are two main types of leg ulcer: venous (also known as stasis or gravitational) and arterial. Venous ulcers are by far the most widespread and arise mostly on the lower legs and near the ankles. They are brought on by valve failure in veins and generally appear in conjunction with varicose veins.
Arterial ulcers, which appear on the foot, are caused by bad blood flow through arteries. These ulcers are most expected to arise in those people with sickle cell anaemia and diabetes mellitus.
Treatment depends on the cause of the ulcers. The afflicted area should be covered and bandaged in order to stop infection, improve circulation, and reduce swelling. If an ulcer is exuding pus, a dressing is administered under the bandages and changed every couple of days. Measures such as wearing support stockings, exercising regularly, and keeping the leg raised when sitting can also help to improve the circulation. A leg ulcer can take a few months to heal, however, and the problem often returns. In unusual cases, a skin graft is needed.