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Male with leg ulcer

ABOUT LEG ULCERS

Leg ulcers are breaks in the skin (generally below the knee) that can take a long time to heal due to underlying disease. You may hear them described as ‘chronic wounds’. The most common cause of chronic leg ulcers is poor blood circulation in the legs caused by a problem either in the veins, causing venous leg ulcers, or arteries causing arterial leg ulcers. Sometimes the cause is a combination of the two (mixed venous-arterial ulcers).

Approximately 70% of leg ulcers are venous. They are caused by increased blood pressure in the veins of the lower leg. As a result, fluid to 'oozes out' of the veins beneath the skin making it swell and thicken. You are at risk of developing a venous ulcer if you have varicose veins, have had a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in the past, or have a family history of venous disease.

Arterial ulcers tend to be found at the lower end of the leg, on the foot or toes. They generally cause pain at night, or if your legs are elevated. You are at risk of developing an arterial ulcer if you have heart disease, diabetes, or peripheral vascular disease.

It is very important that your doctor examines your wound to determine the type as this will guide treatment. Diagnosis is usually made on the basis of the appearance and location of the ulcer (see table below).

Differences between venous leg ulcers and arterial leg ulcers

Venous leg ulcers

  • Swollen foot and leg
  • Ulcer is usually superficial/shallow with sloping edges
  • Dry, itchy, red or brown skin around the ulcer. Eczema may be present
  • Painful, especially if infected

Arterial leg ulcers

  • Cold feet and legs with a whitish or bluish, shiny appearance
  • Round, ‘punched out’ and painful ulcer 
  • Increase in pain when your legs are elevated
  • Decrease in pain when sitting


Male with leg ulcer

MINIMISE THE RISK FACTORS

It is important to minimize the risk factors as much as you can.

Take good care of your legs:

  • Keep your feet warm and try to avoid injuries to your legs
  • Examine your legs daily for any changes in colour or breaks in the skin
  • Exercise as much as possible – this enables your blood vessels to form new branches, improving the circulation in your legs and helps the blood to return back to the heart, minimising swelling
  • Do not stand for long period of time
  • Don’t cross your legs when sitting
  • Use support socks or stockings if travelling for long distances, but talk to your health professional first
  • Use moisturising creams and emollients without perfume to keep your skin soft.


Observe any ulcers for signs of infection:

  • An increase or a change in pain
  • Increased redness
  • Swelling
  • An increase in the amount and colour of exudate (fluid) from the wound
  • Odour from the wound
  • A high temperature


A number of suitable dressings can be found if you click on the ‘our solutions’ tab.

 

Male with painful leg ulcer

MINIMISING PAIN

Leg ulcers are painful. It is important to try and reduce this pain as much as possible, using a dressing that protects the wound and doesn't harm the surrounding skin.

Dressing changes

Some dressings can take off the ‘top’ of the wound (the ‘wound bed’) and the skin around the wound, which again can be painful. You will need to use a dressing that protects the wound and the surrounding skin.

If you have a venous leg ulcer, you must have compression therapy. Speak to your healthcare professional.

Help

Mölnlycke Health Care dressings have a special, gentle adhesive which means that they cause little or no pain when they are taken off. This is called Safetac® technology. Click here to learn more about Safetac technology. Your doctor or nurse will know which of the dressings are best to use for your wound.

If you want to learn more about pain and how you can minimise it, please visit our Pain centre by clicking the button.

GET MORE INFO ABOUT DRESSINGS FOR LEG ULCERS

Mepilex®

Mepilex®

  • Use on exuding wounds
  • Is very soft and comfortable 
  • Has a Safetac layer making it less painful to remove
  • Absorbs exudate (wound fluid) 
  • Keeps the wound moist which makes it heal faster 
  • Does not harm the surrounding skin
  • Can be used under compression bandages

Mepilex® Lite

  • Use on wounds with less wound exudate (wound fluid) 
  • Is very thin, soft and comfortable 
  • Has a Safetac layer making it less painful to remove
  • Keeps the wound moist which makes it heal faster  
  • Does not harm the surrounding skin
  • Can be used under compression bandages
Mepilex® Ag

Mepilex®Ag

  • Use when signs of infection 
  • Contains silver which kills bacteria
  • Has a Safetac layer making it less painful to remove
  • Is very soft and comfortable 
  • Absorbs exudate (wound fluid) 
  • Keeps the wound moist which makes it heal faster
  • Does not harm the surrounding skin
  • Can be used under compression bandages

Mepilex®Border Ag

  • Use on wounds with moderate to high exudate (wound fluid)
  • Use if silver is indicated as a preventive action or to manage signs of infection
  • Contains silver which kills bacteria
  • Has a Safetac layer making it less painful to remove
  • Keeps the wound moist which makes it heal faster
  • Is shower-proof
  • Does not harm the surrounding skin
Mepitac

Mepitac®

  • Gentle fixation tape for sensitive/fragile skin
  • Minimises pain and skin damage at removal due to a Safetac layer close to the skin
  • Is soft and comfortable
  • Water proof
  • Low risk of skin irritation and allergy

Tubigrip™

  • Elasticated, multi-purpose tubular bandage
  • Comfortable, effective tissue support
  • Easy to apply and reapply
  • Full range of sizes to suit any part of the body
  • No pins or tapes needed
  • Washable and reusable, without losing shape
  • Choice of natural or beige colours
Tubifast™ with 2-way stretch

Tubifast™ With 2-Way Stretch Technology

  • Use to keep your dressing in place if adhesives are not wanted 
  • Is easy to put in place
  • Available in many widths
Contact

CONTACT US

Welcome to contact Mölnlycke Health Care about leg ulcers and our solutions!
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