Wound Care (for Venous and Arterial Ulcers)

Surgical Associates of Marshall County offer treatment for wound care in Albertville and Gunterville, including treatment for ulcers.

Poor circulation in the body’s veins and arteries can lead to open sores on the legs and feet known as ulcers. At Surgical Associates of Marshall County, we offer wound care for venous and arterial ulcers, as well as treatments that help you address the causes of these painful problems.

What are Venous Ulcers?

Your veins carry blood to the heart and lungs from the body’s extremities. Restriction of this circulation can lead to the pooling of blood in improperly functioning veins. This increases pressure and dilates the veins while limiting the fresh blood supply of surrounding tissues, resulting in ulcers due to lack of white blood cells that fight off infection.

Many diseases that restrict the functionality of the veins can lead to venous ulcers, including:

  • Obesity
  • Blood clots
  • Varicose veins
  • Long periods spent standing
  • Multiple pregnancies
  • Leg injuries

Approximately 70 percent of ulcers are venous ulcers. They are most likely to occur on the lower leg between the ankle and midpoint of the calf and may cause swelling as well as dry, itchy or discolored skin around the ulcer.

What are Arterial Ulcers?

Your arteries carry oxygen and nutrient-rich blood from the heart and lungs to the skin and muscles in the legs and feet. Restriction of this circulation deprives tissue of oxygen and nutrients, resulting in discolored, cold and painful skin as well as arterial ulcers. Usually, this is caused by atherosclerosis, which refers to the build-up of cholesterol and fatty plaque in the arteries.

Risk of arterial ulcers has been linked to a number of conditions, including:

  • Stress
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Diet high in fat and/or cholesterol
  • Heart attack, heart disease or stroke

Arterial ulcers are rarer than venous ulcers. They are most likely to occur on the lower calves and feet, including uncomfortable areas like between the toes, on the heels or on the tips of toes.

Treatment of Venous and Arterial Ulcers

Because venous and arterial ulcers are signs of underlying circulation issues, treatment is important to avoid continued discomfort and complications. When these circulation issues go untreated, they can lead to serious cardiovascular conditions (heart attack, stroke), slower wound healing and even loss of limb.

If you are diagnosed with a venous or arterial ulcer, our experienced staff will examine you to determine the severity of the wound, the causes of the underlying problem and the most effective form of treatment. A dressing will be applied to the wound to promote healing, reduce discomfort and prevent further damage to the wound. The staff at Surgical Associates of Marshall County will give you all the instructions needed to care for your wound as it heals.

Lifestyle modifications and other treatments may be recommended to address circulatory issues and reduce risk of the ulcer returning. For venous ulcers, compression bandages are often used to improve circulation with constant pressure.