Early Warning Signs of Venous Ulcers

Left untreated, varicose veins can cause many unpleasant side effects. In some severe cases, they can cause venous ulcers to develop in the skin surrounding the affected vein. A venous skin ulcer is a sore on your leg that’s very slow to heal. They can last anywhere from a few weeks to years, and can sometimes lead to more serious problems if left untreated.

Let’s explore some of the causes and early warning signs of venous ulcers.

What Causes Them?

Venous ulcers are an uncommon, but serious side effect of untreated varicose veins. Venous ulcers occur when there’s a break in the skin on your leg, usually around the ankle.

When the valves within leg veins aren’t functioning properly, blood can flow back down towards the foot, causing pressure on the veins and skin. When circulation is restricted and blood gathers in the feet and legs, you run the risk of developing ulcers. Because nutrient exchange from blood flow is vital to a healthy body, the oversaturation of nutrient-devoid blood that comes with venous ulcers can damage surrounding tissue.

As the ulcer progresses, an open sore with uneven borders may begin to form. The skin surrounding the sore will likely be hardened and discolored, and it may emit a foul odor.

What Are The Symptoms?

In their early stages, the most common symptoms of venous ulcers include:

  • Swelling, itching, and tingling in the leg

  • A general sense of heaviness in the affected limb

  • Darkened or discolored skin

  • As the ulcer progresses, additional symptoms can include:

  • A rash or dry skin

  • Brownish discoloration

  • A foul-smelling fluid oozing from the sore

How Are They Treated?

If you suffer from varicose veins or another form of chronic venous insufficiency, and have a wound that isn’t healing or you think is infected, you should seek treatment immediately. There are some simple steps that patients can take to manage their symptoms and heal the ulcer. These include:

  • Cleaning and bandaging the ulcer as needed

  • Thoroughly drying the surrounding skin

  • Wearing compression garments

  • Elevating the feet above the heart

The most successful treatment for preventing venous ulcers, however, is to treat the underlying varicose veins.


Elmore Medical Vein & Laser Treatment Center is the premier vein specialty medical practice in the Central Valley. Dr. Mario H. Gonzalez and his staff offer years of experience and medical expertise that you won’t find anywhere else. Contact us today to set up a consultation appointment.

Chase SchwarzwalterComment