Leg Ulcers

Natural treatment for the causes of leg ulcers and foot ulcers.

natural remedy for leg ulcers

Select a Topic

  1. What are the Symptoms of Leg Ulcers?
  2. Pictures of Leg Ulcers
  3. What Causes Leg Ulcers?
  4. Leg Ulcers in the Elderly
  5. Most Common Types of Leg Ulcers
  6. Treatments for Leg Ulcers
  7. Tips for Prevention of Leg Ulcers

What are Leg Ulcers?

The word "ulcer" means a break in the layer of cells forming a surface. Ulcers can occur on any area of the body and have many causes.

Ulcers occur when the skin breaks down allowing air and bacteria to get into the underlying tissue. They usually form as scabs or open wounds with redness and swelling of the surrounding area, most commonly on the lower legs and/or feet.

What are the Symptoms of Leg Ulcers?

Associated symptoms of a venous leg ulcer are caused by blood not flowing properly through your veins. This is known as venous insufficiency.

Symptoms of leg ulcers may include:

  • Stinging Leg pain, which can be continuous, or intermittent
  • Pitting edema, where swollen ankles are filled with fluid that temporarily holds the imprint of your finger when pressed
  • Hyperpigmentation, or discolouration and darkening of your skin around the ulcer
  • Lipodermatosclerosis, or hardened skin around the ulcer, which may make your leg feel rigid
  • Atrophie blanche, or small, smooth areas of white skin, which may have tiny red spots
  • A 'heavy' feeling in the affected leg
  • Aching
  • Itching
  • Swelling
  • Venous eczema, or itchy, irritated skin which is caused by high blood pressure in the veins of your leg

Pictures of Leg Ulcers

What Causes Leg Ulcers?

Years of research have shown that the usual causes of leg ulcers are not a problem with the skin itself, but rather with the underlying blood supply to the skin. Therefore successful prevention for leg ulcers and successful treatment for leg ulcers must be directed at correcting the underlying cause, not the ulcer itself.

Because blood supply to the skin is crucial, ulcers can occur as a result of poor circulation and so it is also mostly associated with disorders that affect circulation, such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and hypertension. Leg and foot ulcers can also be worsened by secondary bacterial and viral infections and be associated with surrounding eczema. Ulcers are also commonly associated with depressed or lowered immune systems.

Diagnosing Leg Ulcers

Diagnosis is usually made based on symptoms, location and the way the surrounding skin of the ulcer looks. A diagnosis is determined by the patient’s medical history, a thorough physical examination by a wound specialist or physician, and laboratory tests, which may include X-rays, MRIs, CT scans and noninvasive vascular studies to help develop a treatment plan.

Leg Ulcers in the Elderly

Leg ulcers usually occur in the elderly more so than any other age group, due to poor circulation in aging limbs. Ulcers in the elderly affect their quality of life, especially if they are affected by them chronically. Many elderly individuals are inactive, making it very hard to treat ulcers in a traditional manner.

Two conditions that add to the complications of leg ulcers in the elderly are obesity and diabetes. Since many elderly individuals spend a majority of their time sitting, one of the best remedies is to keep their legs elevated, preferably above the heart.

Most Common Types of Leg Ulcers

  • Venous (Varicose) Ulcers mostly occur due to improper functioning of the valves connecting the superficial and deep veins. The failure of these valves causes blood to improper flow of the veins, causing varicose veins.
  • Arterial (Ischemic) Ulcers are caused by poor blood circulation as a result of narrowed arteries or by damage to the small blood vessels from diabetes.
  • Neurotrophic (Diabetic) Ulcers occur in those diagnosed with diabetes. Decreased circulation from diabetes is the main reason for the development of diadetic leg ulcers.

Treatments for Leg Ulcers

Treatment for leg ulcers should include weight loss if you are overweight and regular exercise to promote good circulation. Body detox can also help to purify the blood and cleanse the system. Treatment for leg ulcers greatly depends on the factors that cause the ulcer or have prevented healing.

Once the causes of leg ulcers are under control, (for example the blood sugar level in diabetes) the ulcer should heal by itself. Treatment may involve wound cleansing, anti-inflammatory treatment and application of dressings. So long as there is no arterial disease, venous leg and foot ulcers will benefit from elevation and compression dressings.

If an underlying disease is one of the causes of leg ulcers, it's important that it is treated - for example hardening of the arteries. Leg and foot ulcers have a tendency to recur in elderly people, and sometimes may require years of therapy.

Natural Remedies for Leg Ulcers

Many herbal and homeopathic remedies have been formulated with specific ingredients to promote and improve circulation throughout the body. One such ingredient is Ginkgo biloba - an extremely effective herb used to restore the functioning of the circulatory system and improve peripheral blood flow to the extremities.

Zingiber officinalis is another herb known as a strong anti-inflammatory and pain reliever, while Rosmarinus officinale (Rosemary) can help to dilate and strengthen blood vessels. For skin health, Natrium muriaticum, Kalium muriaticum and Kalium sulphate are three homeopathic ingredients hailed for their ability to cleanse blood and lymph, help eliminate waste in the blood and act as a natural anti-inflammatory.

Furthermore, by providing essential oxygen to inflamed or infected cells, Kali. sulph. effectively assists healing, reduces inflammation and removes infected or dead cells. Ferrum phos is another well known biochemic tissue salt to promote the supply of oxygen rich blood to all cells of the body and will also prove helpful at the first signs of an infection.

Tips for the Prevention of Leg Ulcers

  • Activate your calf muscles regularly by walking and exercising.
  • Reduce the amount of fat in your food. Eat more fruit and vegetables.
  • Sit with your legs raised whenever you have the opportunity - above heart level if possible.
  • Avoid sitting with your legs crossed. This impairs blood circulation.
  • If your work requires a lot of standing or sitting, try to vary your stance as much as possible. Walk about from time to time, if you can.
  • If you have to stay seated for a long time, move your feet up and down occasionally.
  • Support stockings may be useful, but talk to your doctor or practice nurse first.
  • Massaging the legs to improve circulation can also prevent leg ulcers
  • Reduce alcohol consumption, as this increases your risk of getting leg ulcers

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