A Leg discoloration and ulcer is a persistent (chronic) sore that doesn’t heal within 4–6 weeks. Typically, appear slightly above the ankle inside the leg.
Pain, itchiness, and swelling in the affected leg are signs of a venous leg ulcer. Additionally, the skin around the ulcer may be discolored or hardened, and the sore may leak something that smells bad.
If you suspect a leg ulcer, consult your doctor immediately because it will require specialized care to recover.
Causes Of Leg Discoloration And Ulcer
A venous leg ulcer may occur if there’s an issue with the blood flow in the leg veins soon after a minor injury. The pressure inside the veins rises if this happens.
The little blood vessels in your skin can gradually weaken due to this persistently high pressure. A bump or scratch due to this can easily cause your skin to rupture and become an ulcer.
Symptoms Of Leg Discoloration And Ulcer
Leg discoloration and ulcers are open, frequently painful skin lesions that take over a month to heal. Typically, they appear slightly above the ankle inside the leg.
Signs And Symptoms Of Leg Discoloration Are;
- Lower leg skin darkening with red, brown, or yellow splotches
- Oozing ulcers or crusty sores
- Hair loss on the shins, ankles, and feet
- Leathery, thick skin
- Noticeable spider or varicose veins
- Edema in the ankles and legs
Having a Leg Ulcer May Also Indicate That You Have;
- Edema in the ankles.
- Skin discoloration and darkening surrounding the ulcer.
- The area around the ulcer may have firm skin, making your leg feel stiff or perhaps taking on the appearance of an upside-down champagne bottle.
- A sensation of heaviness in the legs.
- Dilated veins
- Syringe veins
- Leg ulcers that won’t go away
- Agitated legs
- Leg aches or swollen ankles.
- Itchy, red, flaky, and scaly skin on the legs (varicose eczema).
- Bulging and swollen veins on legs (varicose veins).
- A disagreeable and offensive discharge is coming from the ulcer.
When To See a Doctor
Seek immediate medical attention if you see leg discoloration or ulcer. It typically requires specialized medical care, so it’s doubtful that it will get better independently.
Visit your doctor or a leg ulcer specialist if you have a venous leg ulcer and have signs of infection.
Factors That Affect Vein Health
The following medical conditions are known to increase the risk of vascular disease, leg ulcers, and discoloration of the legs.
- Living a sedentary lifestyle or frequently immobilized
- Clots of blood
- Elevated blood pressure
- A history of heart disease
- Renal failure
- Prior operations or severe injuries to the afflicted area
- Drinking much liquor
- Having a cigarette habit
- Bad diet
Diagnosis Of Leg Ulcer
If you believe you have a venous leg ulcer, consult your doctor. Without specialized care, the ulcer has a meager chance of recovery.
Diagnosis has the following steps;
Medical History And Examination:
Your doctor or practice nurse will inquire as to whether you experience any further signs or symptoms of leg ulcers, such as;
- Ankle edema and stiff or discolored skin
- By enquiring about underlying diseases or prior injuries
They will try to ascertain the source of the ulcer, such as;
- Previous leg ulcers
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
- Damage or surgery on the affected leg
Both while you’re standing up and when you’re lying down, they’ll check your leg. Standing up will make your varicose veins more noticeable while reclining down will make it simpler to see the ulcer.
Your doctor or nurse will perform a Doppler scan to rule out peripheral arterial disease, a condition that affects the arteries, as a potential explanation of your symptoms.
It entails taking an ankle blood pressure reading and contrasting it with an arm blood pressure reading. If you have peripheral artery disease, your ankle blood pressure will be lower than your arm blood pressure.
Referral to a specialist:
In some circumstances, your doctor or nurse may refer you to an expert in blood vessel disorders (vascular specialist).
For instance, if your doctor or nurse is doubtful of your diagnosis or believes your ulcer may be brought on by artery disease, diabetes, or rheumatoid arthritis, they may refer you to a vascular specialist.
Treatment of leg discoloration and ulcer:
Most leg discoloration & ulcers heal within 3 to 4 months with the proper care.
A medical specialist with experience in leg ulcer compression therapy should always administer care.
Cleaning and dressing of ulcers:
Applying a suitable dressing after cleaning out any debris or dead tissue from the ulcer is the first step. It creates the optimal circumstances for the ulcer’s healing.
Your nurse will wrap the injured limb in a firm compression bandage to reduce swelling and promote vein circulation. These wraps compress your legs and stimulate blood to move up and toward the heart.
It is typically painful to first apply compression bandages to a sick ulcer. Ideally, your doctor should give paracetamol or another type of pain reliever. The ulcer will begin to heal after a few days, which could take up to 10 or 12.
Wearing the compression bandage precisely as directed is crucial.
However, you must remove the bandage if;
- Your front ankle begins to hurt terribly.
- Your toes turn blue and swell
- You experience excruciating foot pain.
As soon as the bandage is removed, keep your leg elevated.
Treating Other Symptoms
Swelling in the leg and ankle:
Edema, a fluid-induced swelling of the feet and ankles, is frequently present in patients with venous leg ulcers. Compression bandages are an excellent way to manage this.
It is frequently caused by varicose eczema, which can be managed with an emollient (moisturizer) and sometimes with mild corticosteroid cream or ointment.
Avoid scratching your legs if itchy because doing so destroys the skin and increases the risk of developing more ulcers.
Tips for Self-Care During Treatment
It would help if you heed the following suggestions to hasten the healing of your ulcer;
- Try to stay active by going for regular walks. Standing motionless or sitting down without moving your legs might exacerbate venous leg ulcers and swelling.
- Keep your affected leg elevated while sitting or sleeping so your toes are parallel to your eyes.
- To frequently exercise your legs, move your feet up and down and rotate them at the ankles. It may promote improved circulation.
- Try to lose weight if you’re overweight by following a healthy diet and regular exercise.
- Quit smoking and limit your alcohol intake. It may hasten the healing of the ulcer.
- Wearing cozy, well-fitting shoes will help avoid hurting your injured leg.
Prevention of leg discoloration and ulcer:
Wearing compression stockings, decreasing weight, and taking care of your skin are just a few strategies to lower the risk of getting a venous leg ulcer.