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Venous Skin Ulcers: Home Treatment

Overview

Venous skin ulcers develop when the lower leg veins are weakened and cannot efficiently move the blood back toward the heart. Pooled blood and fluid in the lower legs then leads to tissue breakdown. You can prevent or heal a venous skin ulcer by helping your blood circulate back toward your heart.

  • Elevate your legs during sleep.

    While you are sleeping, you can help your blood circulate back to your heart by elevating your feet above the level of your heart. Prop the foot end of your bed up on 6 in. (15 cm) to 8 in. (20 cm) blocks.

  • Elevate your legs while awake.

    During waking hours, try to elevate your legs above the level of your heart for 30 minutes, 3 to 4 times a day.

    Elevating your legs may be all the treatment you need if you have mild venous insufficiency. But if you continue to have problems with venous skin ulcers, you will need additional treatment.

  • Exercise.

    Doing regular foot and ankle exercises can help strengthen your leg muscles and improve blood flow in your legs. While you are sitting (or standing), flex your ankles by pointing your toes away from you and then pointing them up. Do 10 repeats of the exercise several times each day. This exercise is especially important for people who need to sit or stand for long periods of time.

    Walking is also good exercise for improving blood flow in the legs.

  • Use compression stockings.

    Specially fitted compression stockings are designed to help prevent fluid from pooling in the legs. You should wear these stockings every day from the time you wake up until you go to bed. Remove them only for bathing and sleeping. They can help venous skin ulcers heal and help prevent them from coming back.

Credits

Current as of: November 15, 2021

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:
E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Margaret Doucette DO - Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Wound Care, Hyperbaric Medicine