An introduction to leg ulcers



"A leg ulceration is a chronic wound on the leg which fails to heal" 1

Venous stasis and arterial leg ulcers are a consequence of poor blood flow through the legs, due to problems with the blood vessels themselves or due to underlying disease which compromises effective blood flow.

The vast majority of leg ulcers in western societies are of venous origin (approximately 80-90%). Ulcers caused by arterial disease account for 5-10% of cases2. Ulcers that are caused by a combination of venous and arterial disease can occur and present challenges for management3. Other causes include neuropathy which is usually associated with diabetes2.

Leg ulcers are commonly associated with elderly people4 and women have a higher incidence of leg ulceration than men5.

According to a 2001 publication, "The cost of treating Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI) has been estimated to be $750 million to $1 billion per year in the United States".6

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