Going to a Cleveland Clinic location? Ulcers are wounds or open sores that will not heal or keep returning. Ulcers are typically defined by the appearance of the ulcer, the ulcer location, and the way the borders and surrounding skin of the ulcer look.
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Neuropathy and peripheral artery foot often occur together in people who have diabetes. Nerve damage neuropathy in the feet can result in a loss of foot sensation and changes in the sweat-producing glands, increasing the risk of being unaware of foot calluses or cracks, injury or risk of infection. Symptoms of neuropathy include tingling, numbness, burning or pain. It is easy to understand why people nurse diabetes are more prone to foot ulcers than other patients. This is why people with diabetes need to inspect their feet daily and wear appropriate footwear.
People with diabetes should never walk barefoot. Ulcers may or may not be painful. The patient generally has a swollen leg and may feel burning or itching. There may also be a rash, redness, brown discoloration or dry, scaly skin. First, the patient's medical history is evaluated. A wound specialist will examine the wound thoroughly and may perform tests such as X-rays, MRIs, CT scans and noninvasive vascular studies to help develop a treatment plan.
This Clinic includes doctors, nurses and other medical specialists. These experts work together to determine the cause of the ulcer and develop an individualized treatment program. The goals of treatment are to relieve pain, speed recovery and heal the wound. Each patient's treatment plan is individualized, based on the patient's health, medical condition and ability to care for the wound.
Venous ulcers are treated with compression of the leg to minimize edema or swelling. Compression treatments include wearing compression stockings, multi-layer compression wraps, or wrapping an ACE bandage or dressing from the toes or foot to the area below the picture.
The type of compression treatment prescribed is determined by the physician, based on the characteristics of the ulcer base and amount of drainage from the ulcer. The type of dressing prescribed for ulcers is determined by the type of ulcer and the appearance at the base of the ulcer.
Types of dressings include:. Arterial ulcer treatments vary, depending on the severity of the arterial disease.
Non-invasive vascular tests provide the physician with the diagnostic tools to assess the potential for wound healing. Depending on the patient's condition, the physician may recommend invasive testing, endovascular therapy or bypass surgery to restore circulation to the affected leg.
Treatment for neurotrophic ulcers includes avoiding pressure and weight-bearing on the affected leg. Regular debridement the removal of infected tissue is usually necessary before a neurotrophic ulcer can heal. Frequently, special shoes or orthotic devices must be worn.
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The treatment of all ulcers begins with careful skin and foot care. Inspecting your skin and feet is very important, especially for people with diabetes. Detecting and treating foot and skin sores early can help you prevent infection and prevent the sore from getting worse. Gently wash the affected area on your leg and your feet every day with mild soap Ivory Snow or Dreft and lukewarm water. Washing helps loosen and remove dead skin and other debris or drainage from the ulcer.
Gently and thoroughly dry your skin and feet, including between the toes.
Do not rub your skin or area between the toes. Every day, examine your legs as well as the tops and bottoms of your feet and the areas between your toes. Look for any blisters, cuts, cracks, scratches or other sores. Also check for redness, increased warmth, ingrown toenails, corns and calluses. Use a mirror to view the leg or foot if necessary, or have a family member look at the area for you. Once or twice a day, apply a lanolin-based cream to your legs and the soles and top of your feet to prevent dry skin and cracking.
Do not apply lotion between your toes or on areas where there is an open sore or cut. If the skin is extremely dry, use the moisturizing cream more often.
Care for your toenails regularly. Cut your toenails after bathing, when they are soft.
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Cut toenails straight across and smooth with a nail file. Do not self-treat corns, calluses or other foot problems. Go to a podiatrist to treat these conditions. Controlling risk factors can help you prevent ulcers from developing or getting worse. Here are some ways to reduce your risk factors:. Doctors vary in quality due to differences in training and experience; hospitals differ in the of services available.
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The more complex your medical problem, the greater these differences in quality become and the more they matter. Clearly, the doctor and hospital that you choose for complex, specialized medical care will have a direct impact on how well you do. Choosing a doctor to treat your vascular disease depends on where you are in your nurse and treatment. Section of Vascular Medicine: for evaluation, medical management or interventional procedures to treat vascular disease. In addition, the Non-Invasive Laboratory includes state-of-the art computerized imaging equipment to assist in diagnosing vascular disease, without added discomfort to the patient.
Call Vascular Medicine Appointments, toll-freeextension or request an appointment online. Department of Vascular Surgery : foot evaluation for surgical treatment of vascular disease, including aorta, peripheral artery, and venous disease. Call Vascular Surgery Appointments, toll-freepicture or request an appointment online. You may also use our MyConsult second opinion consultation using the Internet.
Learn more about experts who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of vascular and arterial disease.
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Advertising on our site helps support our mission. We do not endorse non-Cleveland Clinic products or services. Leg and Foot Ulcers. What causes leg ulcers? Leg ulcers may be caused by medical conditions such as: Poor circulation, often caused by arteriosclerosis Venous insufficiency a failure of the valves in the veins of the leg that causes congestion and slowing of picture circulation in the veins Other disorders of clotting and circulation that may or may not be related to foot Diabetes Renal kidney failure Hypertension treated or untreated Lymphedema a buildup of fluid that causes swelling in the legs or feet Inflammatory diseases including vasculitis, lupus, scleroderma or other rheumatological conditions Other medical conditions such as high cholesterol, heart disease, high blood pressure, sickle cell anemia, bowel disorders History of smoking either current or past Pressure caused by lying in one position for too long Genetics ulcers may be hereditary A malignancy tumor or cancerous mass Infections Certain medications What are the types of leg and foot ulcers?
The three most common types of leg and foot ulcers include: Venous stasis ulcers Neurotrophic diabetic Arterial ischemic ulcers Ulcers are typically defined by the appearance of the ulcer, the ulcer location, and the way the borders and surrounding skin of the ulcer look. Venous Stasis Ulcers Location on body: Below the knee - primarily found on the inner part of the leg, just above the ankle. Ulcers may affect one or both legs. Appearance: Base : Red in color and may be covered nurse yellow fibrous tissue.
There may be a green or yellow discharge if the ulcer is infected. Fluid drainage can be ificant.
Borders : Usually irregularly shaped. The surrounding skin is often discolored and swollen. It may even feel warm or hot. The skin may appear shiny and tight, depending on the amount of edema swelling.