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Important information for Venous Leg Ulcer (VLU) patients and caregivers.

WHAT is a venous leg ulcer?

A venous leg ulcer is a wound or opening in the skin on the lower leg, ankle, or foot in someone with vein disease.

WHAT causes a venous leg ulcer?
You can be born with this condition or you can get it over time due to:
  • Standing or sitting for long periods
  • Pregnancy or excessive weight
  • History of a blood clot in the leg
  • Surgery, infection, or injury in the leg
HOW do I care for my leg ulcer?

Venous leg ulcers need proper care and treatment to prevent infection and to help the ulcer close. Follow your healthcare provider’s recommendations for wound care which may include:

  • Cleaning the wound
  • Applying medicine or other treatment to wound and surrounding skin
  • Covering the wound
  • Wearing compression garments or special leg bandages that prevent blood from settling in the lower legs
WHAT are compression wraps?

Compression Wraps or Compression Therapy is when the lower legs are “wrapped” with bandages.

Compression wraps come in several different types. Some are washable and reusable and others are used one time only and changed on a routine basis.

Compression wraps are used until the ulcer closes. When the ulcer closes, wearing compression stockings/hose lifelong helps prevent the ulcer from returning.

WHY do I have to have my legs “wrapped”?

Venous leg ulcers take time to heal and diuretics or medications that reduce swelling minimally help with this condition. Compression therapy helps venous leg ulcers heal faster.

WHEN should I call my healthcare provider?

Don’t wait or hesitate: Contact your healthcare provider when you see a wound or opening along your lower legs, ankles, or feet.

See signs of infection: Leg, foot, or wound redness, warmth, swelling, pain, or a change in wound drainage, odor, or color.

During compression therapy for:

  • Wet or soiled wraps
  • Wound drainage outside of the wrap
  • Wraps that fall down or bunch
  • Toes that seem dark or turn blue
  • Toes that are more swollen than usual
  • Worsening pain in legs, feet, or toes
  • Sudden shortness of breath
HOW can I prevent a venous leg ulcer?
  • Wear compression stockings/hose: To decrease leg swelling and help push the blood in the legs back to the heart.
  • Exercise: Walking helps move blood in the lower legs back to the heart and improves blood circulation.
  • Elevate your feet: Above the level of the heart once a day or whenever standing or sitting for long periods to reduce leg swelling.
  • Take care of your skin: Check the skin along legs and feet for cuts or sores. Clean and moisturize skin every day.
  • Maintain a healthy weight: A healthy weight supports vein health and reduces strain on the leg veins.
  • Smoke: Smoking slows wound healing and reduces blood circulation.
  • Injure your legs: Protect legs and feet from scratches, rubbing, pressure, and burns.
  • Expose legs to extreme temperatures: Very hot or cold temperatures could injure the skin.
  • Remove scabs or dry skin: Picking at scabs or dry skin may damage new skin growth.
Your clinician notes
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This material is for informational purposes only. It does not replace the advice of a doctor or health care professional. WoundReference makes every effort to provide information that is accurate and timely, but makes no guarantee in this regard.


Information for patients and caregivers