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Leg Ulcer

Heart Vascular and Leg Center -  - Vascular Specialist

Heart Vascular and Leg Center

Vascular Specialists & Cardiologists located in Bakersfield, CA

If you’re living with a chronic condition like diabetes, venous insufficiency, or hypertension, you’re also more likely to experience leg ulcers. At Heart Vascular and Leg Center in Bakersfield, California, board-certified cardiologist Vinod Kumar, MD, FACC, and his team use safe and effective methods to treat and manage leg ulcers. To schedule an appointment, call the office or book a consultation online today.

Leg Ulcer Q & A

What is a leg ulcer?

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A leg ulcer is an open, slow-healing wound caused by poor circulation. Anyone can experience a leg ulcer, but they are especially common in women. 

When left untreated, leg ulcers increase your risk of complications, including infection, gangrene, and the need for amputation. Fortunately, with prompt diagnosis and intervention, it’s possible to promote healing, preventing leg ulcers from recurring.

What are the symptoms of a leg ulcer?

The symptoms of a leg ulcer vary depending on the underlying cause. Usually, ulcers result in pain and irritation. However, if you have diabetes, and it results in nerve damage, you might not experience any discomfort.

Telltale signs to watch out for include:

  • Open sores
  • Pus oozing from the affected area
  • Pain
  • A wound that increases in size
  • Leg swelling 
  • Enlarged veins

As your leg ulcer grows in size, you might also experience heaviness in your legs and feet.

What causes leg ulcers?

Leg ulcers tend to run in families, so if your parents or grandparents had them, you’re at risk, as well. Other factors that increase your risk of leg ulcers include:

  • Poor blood circulation
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Heart disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Varicose veins

You’re also more likely to experience leg ulcers if you smoke. 

How are leg ulcers diagnosed?

To diagnose leg ulcers, the team at Heart Vascular and Leg Center conducts a physical exam, reviews your medical history, and asks about your symptoms and lifestyle. Afterward, your provider orders testing to pinpoint the underlying cause.

Depending on the size and severity of your leg ulcer, your provider might recommend a CT scan, MRI, vascular ultrasound, or X-rays. These diagnostic imaging procedures play a crucial role in developing a custom treatment plan.

How are leg ulcers treated?

Treatment for leg ulcers depends on the severity of your symptoms and their effect on your quality of life. Whenever possible, the Heart Vascular and Leg Center uses conservative, minimally invasive treatments. Ultimately, the goal is to relieve pain, prevent infection, and stop the wound from growing larger.

If you have a mild or moderate leg ulcer, your provider might recommend draining the wound and taking prescription antibiotics. You may also benefit from wearing compression bandages or undergoing hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

If your leg ulcer is severe, you might benefit from wearing custom orthotics or braces. These medical devices can take the pressure off of the wound itself, making it easier to walk. Your provider may also prescribe pentoxifylline. This medication can improve circulation throughout your legs and feet.

To explore your treatment options for a leg ulcer, schedule an appointment at Heart Vascular and Leg Center. Call the office or book a consultation online today.