What is a leg ulcer?
A leg ulcer is simply a tear in the skin of the leg that allows air and bacteria to penetrate the tissues below. This is usually caused by an injury, often minor, that causes the skin to break.
For most people, such an injury heals quickly, within about a week. However, if there is an underlying problem, particularly with blood circulation, the skin will not heal, and the area of damage may increase in size and remain open.
This is a chronic leg ulcer. Up to 10% of the population over 70 have leg ulcers.
Arterial ulcers, also known as “ischemic ulcers,” are caused by the insufficient blood supply to the lower extremities. This is also known as “peripheral vascular disease.”
It is often caused by risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, and high cholesterol. They are more common in men and the elderly.
The skin and tissues of the feet and ankles are deprived of oxygen. The overlying tissue dies, leaving the area with an open sore — an ulcer. In addition, due to insufficient blood supply, even minor cuts and abrasions cannot heal and often develop into ulcers.
Arterial ulcers are usually painful and can cause pain at night. Left untreated, arterial ulcers can lead to severe complications, including gangrene (death tissue), amputation of toes, and even the lower leg.
Diabetic foot ulcers
Diabetes affects about 7 million people in Germany, and about 15% of people with diabetes suffer from diabetic foot ulcers. In diabetes, abnormal blood sugar levels gradually damage the nerves in the lower leg, leading to foot sensation loss.
This nerve damage combined with reduced or poor blood flow to the foot (also due to diabetes) means that ulcers develop more frequently than in the general population.
Diabetes often slows down the healing process of wounds and ulcers, making them more susceptible to infection.
Unfortunately, due to the impaired healing process, diabetic foot ulcers remain a chronic health problem for many patients, significantly impacting their quality of life.
A surgical wound is a wound associated with an incision following an operation. The wound may have problems in the days or weeks after surgery.
Sometimes wounds do not heal, although the operation itself is successful. Chronic infections, even low-level infections, delay healing. This applies in particular after bowel surgery or operations in the area of the anus/buttocks.
There is also a condition after surgery known as “hyper granulation” or “over granulation.” There is an overgrowth of healing or “granulation” tissue, and the overlying skin does not grow.
The granulation tissue sits on the surrounding skin. This problem can become a chronic problem, and this requires special wound-healing techniques.
We also treat wounds after plastic surgery where the incisions have not healed as planned. We treat an increasing number of problems after plastic surgery at the VenaZiel® Clinic.