A venous skin ulcer is a shallow wound caused by venous
insufficiency, a condition in which the valves in the blood vessels are damaged
and allow some blood to back up in the veins. The slowed circulation causes
fluid to seep out of the overfilled veins into surrounding tissues, causing
tissue breakdown and ulcers.
Venous skin ulcers, also called stasis leg ulcers, typically
develop on either side of the lower leg, above the ankle and below the
The first sign of a skin ulcer is an affected area of skin that
turns dark red or purple. It may also become thickened and dry and itchy.
Without treatment, an open wound (ulcer) may form. Venous skin ulcers often
weep clear fluid and are covered with yellowish film.
The most effective treatment for venous skin ulcers is frequent
elevation of the legs above the level of the heart and use of compression
stockings during waking hours.
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & Margaret Doucette, DO - Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Wound Care, Hyperbaric Medicine
The Health Encyclopedia contains general health information. Not all treatments or services described are covered benefits for Kaiser Permanente members or offered as services by Kaiser Permanente. For a list of covered benefits, please refer to your Evidence of Coverage or Summary Plan Description. For recommended treatments, please consult with your health care provider.