Venous leg ulcers

Causes of a venous leg ulcer

By: Mölnlycke Health Care, December 27 2011Posted in: Venous leg ulcers

Damaged valves that may be the result of trauma (this stops them preventing backflow) resulting in the pooling of venous blood in the lower leg. This results in venous congestion and vasodilation.

This causes the fluid to be pushed out of the blood vessels into the tissue as oedema.
Red blood cells leak into tissues causing staining of the skin. This is known as haemosiderin staining. This is an identified characteristic of venous disease (Morrison and Moffatt 2004).

This may lead to skin changes and eventual ulceration of the leg (Anderson 2006). Oedema is often a result of a combination of venous disease and lymphatic drainage issues, known as lymphovenous disease (Tiwari et al 2003). It has been reported that more than a third of people with leg ulcers have concurrent lymphoedema.


  1. Morrison MJ, Moffatt C (2004) Leg ulcers in MJ et al (eds), Chronic wound care; A problem based learning approach.
  2. Edinburgh Mosby Anderson I (2006) Aetiology assessment and management of leg ulcers, Wound Essentials;1 20 – 37 Tiwari A et al (2003) Differential diagnosis investigation and current treatment of lower limb lymphoedema, Archives of surgery; 138, 152-161.
  3. Charles, H. Venous leg ulcer pain and its characteristics. J Tissue Viability 2002; 12: 4, 154-15.
  4. Hofman, D., Ryan, T.J., Arnold, F. et al. Pain in venous leg ulcers. J Wound Care 1997; 6: 5, 222-224.
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