Healing leg ulcers: understanding, treatment, and prevention strategies

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Published On: September, 14, 2023

Healing leg ulcers: understanding, treatment, and prevention strategies


In the realm of vascular health, chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) is a prevalent but often misunderstood condition. Characterized by a cascade of symptoms that can ultimately lead to skin changes and ulcers, CVI is a condition that demands attention and proper management. In this article, we delve into the intricacies of CVI, its symptoms, causes, and most importantly, its treatment. 

Unveiling Chronic Venous Insufficiency

Chronic venous insufficiency emerges from a complex interplay of factors, primarily stemming from untreated venous reflux disease. While the initial signs include discomforts like leg swelling, fatigue, and varicose veins, the condition can take a more severe turn over time. As blood circulation falters within the leg veins, the skin undergoes changes that mark the onset of chronic venous insufficiency. These changes are also referred to as venous stasis, a term encapsulating the skin’s darkening, dryness, itchiness, and firmness. In severe cases, this deterioration can lead to the breakdown and ulceration of the skin, often referred to as venous leg ulcers or stasis ulcers.

Symptoms and Skin Changes of CVI

The symptoms of CVI go beyond physical discomfort, extending to visible changes in the skin. Venous stasis skin changes associated with chronic venous insufficiency include:

  • Darkening of the skin along the ankles: The skin takes on a darker hue, particularly around the ankles, due to disrupted blood flow.
  • Itching and dry skin around the ankles (venous eczema): Irritation and dryness become common, leading to persistent itching and discomfort.
  • Development of wounds around the ankles: These are termed venous leg ulcers, characterized by non-healing wounds that require specific attention and care.


Taking Control: Treating CVI

While the skin changes brought on by CVI may be irreversible, managing the condition is essential to prevent its progression and the onset of ulcers. A key aspect of managing CVI involves addressing the underlying venous reflux. By doing so, the inflammatory changes can be reduced, leading to a potential improvement in skin symptoms. However, it’s important to note that permanent skin discoloration may persist even after successful treatment of the reflux.

Treating Venous Leg Ulcers

For those who have progressed to venous leg ulcers, treatment involves a multifaceted approach:

  • Correction of Underlying Venous Reflux: Addressing the root cause is crucial. Treatment methods will vary based on the location of the underlying reflux, which can be determined through a detailed ultrasound.
  • Wound Care Clinic Referral: Collaborate with wound care specialists who possess expertise in managing venous leg ulcers. Their insights and treatments can expedite the healing process.
  • Compression Therapy: This approach involves using compression garments to improve blood circulation and promote healing. It’s a cornerstone of venous ulcer management.


Chronic venous insufficiency is a condition that demands attention, education, and proper management. By understanding its symptoms, causes, and treatment options, individuals can take charge of their vascular health. 

“Bringing Experts Together for Unparalleled Vein and Vascular Care”

La Jolla Vein & Vascular (formerly La Jolla Vein Care) is committed to bringing experts together for unparalleled vein and vascular care. 

Nisha Bunke, MD, Sarah Lucas, MD, and Amanda Steinberger, MD are specialists who combine their experience and expertise to offer world-class vascular care. 

Our accredited center is also a nationally known teaching site and center of excellence. 

For more information on treatments and to book a consultation, please give our office a call at 858-550-0330. 

 For a deeper dive into vein and vascular care, please check out our Youtube Channel at this link, and our website https://ljvascular.com

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