To help make sure that circulating blood finds its way back to the heart, your veins have a valve in them that allows blood to flow in only one direction. Sometimes these valves fail or are not properly developed. When they do it creates a condition of poor blood circulation in the legs, known as venous stasis. If you have venous stasis and cut or scratch your leg, poor circulation makes the wound take longer to heal and more prone to infection. The result may be an open sore called a venous stasis ulcer. These can take months to heal and, if not healed within a year, may never heal completely. Consult a doctor right away if you suspect you have a venous stasis ulcer.
Things You'll Need
- Sterile wound cleansing pad
- Sterile dressing
- Compression stockings
Thoroughly clean the ulcer with a sterile wound cleansing pad and apply a new sterile dressing every day. If your doctor has dressed your wound with a special compression bandage, only remove it to clean your wound if instructed to do so by the doctor.
Wear compression stockings and comfortable shoes to improve the circulation in your legs. Proper shoes include sneakers or walking shoes that offer support without being too tight.
Participate in moderate exercise for 30 minutes a day. Simple exercises such as walking, climbing stairs and stretching are advised.
Because venous stasis ulcers are the result of poor circulation, reducing blood pressure and cholesterol can help heal them. Eat foods that are low in fat and salt, such as vegetables and whole grains. Increase your intake of citrus and other foods containing vitamin C.
If you smoke, quit.
Take antibiotics prescribed by your doctor according to his instructions. Which antibiotic you receive will depend upon which infections your doctor feels you are most likely to encounter.
Alternate between sitting and standing, trying not to do either for long periods of time. Elevate your foot when sitting.
With the help of your doctor, consider surgical remedies. A skin graft can close the wound with skin from another part of the body. Your doctor may also want to remove the damaged vein to prevent further ulcers.