Leg Ulcers are a symptom of underlying diseases. There are three basic types. Venous Ulcers are the most common comprising around 85% of all leg ulcers. The second most common are diabetic ulcers and finally pressure ulcers.
Venous Ulcers are caused by a malfunction in the venous valves in the legs. Venous valves allow blood to move from the legs back into major arteries headed for the heart. Once the blood flow is blocked or slowed, pressure builds up in the leg causing the escape of blood into the skin. The skin dries out and becomes susceptible to exczema and other skin issues. The irritated skin area becomes an entry point for bacteria and once the bacteria gets a hold, ulceration follows. Severe ulceration can lead to amputation or even death.
There are several sub types such as arterial ulcers, venous insufficiency ulcers, varicose ulcers, stasis ulcers being the most common.
Diabetic Ulcers are a symptom of diabetes. Blood vessels in the extremeties thicken, slowing blood flow. Again, the skin becomes dry and susceptible to damage and infection. More than one half of these ulcers (52%) eventually become infected. They can become chronic leading to leg amputations or even death. Almost 15% of all diabetics are experiencing this problem at any given time.
Pressure Ulcers are a result of physical trauma to the various parts of the body. This is usually caused by a chronic condition, such as being bed ridden or confined to a wheelchair. The constant pressure against various parts of the body causes blood flow issues and eventually the skin becomes dry and prone to ulceration. Once ulcerated, the wounds frequently become infected and chronic because of the constancy of the friction.
Pressure ulcers are also known as pressure sores, decubitus ulcers and bedsores.