An ulcer on the leg is an open wound that has difficulty healing and is recurring. Causes of leg ulcers include poor circulation and diabetes, as well as valve and circulatory dysfunction. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the most common leg ulcers are venous stasis leg ulcers, which account for up to 90 percent of all ulcer cases. Venous stasis ulcers are found below the knee, slightly above the ankle on the back or side of the leg. Medical treatment may include antibiotic therapy and medications to prevent blood clots. After visiting a medical professional, a variety of home remedies and treatments may continue at home to encourage healing of the leg ulcer.
Elevate Legs and Increase Activity
The lower extremities should be elevated to decrease fluid buildup in the legs and feet, and discourage further ulcers from forming. According to MedlinePlus, legs should be positioned about the level of the heart. Frequent rest periods throughout the day are ideal. Still, gradual activity should also be added to a person’s daily routine to increase circulation to the leg ulcer. Walking, gardening or light stretching exercises aid in the leg ulcer healing. A patient should speak to a medical doctor before starting any exercise program, especially if he has lived a sedentary lifestyle.
Cleansing and Wound Care
Wound care and cleansing is important to track the wound’s healing process and to determine if treatment is effective. Mild soap and water should be used to wash the wound daily. According to the Cleveland Clinic, gentle cleansing removes dead skin tissue and drainage from the leg area. A mirror can be used if viewing the ulcers is difficult. Additional symptoms of further infection include redness, warmth and excess drainage. A doctor’s specific wound care guidelines should be followed; most medical professionals recommend a moist dressing or bandage change daily. Prescription ointments are often applied to the wounds.
A variety of compression treatments are recommended when leg ulcers are present, reports the Cleveland Clinic. Compression stockings or pantyhose are available for purchase at most medical supply stores and are also available in prescription strengths. Patients wear the stockings to reduce swelling in the foot and increase circulation which promotes healing to the leg ulcer. Stockings are placed onto the foot and rolled upwards to the knee before getting out of bed each morning. The stockings are worn throughout the day. Assistance may be required to put stockings on. According to Vein Directory, as of 2010, the average price for compression stockings ranges between $30 and $50.
Julie Hampton has worked as a professional freelance writer since 1999 for various newspapers and websites including "The Florida Sun" and "Pensacola News Journal." She served in the U.S. Army as a combat medic and nurse for over six years and recently worked as the Community Relations Director for a health center. Hampton studied journalism and communications at the University of West Florida.