Two different types of open sores can be discovered on the body: arterial and venous ulcers. They frequently develop on the legs and feet as well as other lower extremities. Damage to the arteries brought on by inadequate blood supply to tissue results in the development of arterial ulcers. Venous ulcers form as a result of the veins being damaged by inadequate blood flow back to the heart. These leg lesions, in contrast to other ulcers, may not heal for months. To promote appropriate healing and a quick recovery, despite their similarities, they need different therapies.

How do the symptoms vary?

Pain and swelling are two common indications that an ulcer is developing. Both arterial and venous ulcers might present with additional symptoms.

Arterial ulcers

The outside of the ankle, foot, heels, or toes is where arterial ulcers frequently develop. They can also develop in other places. These sores appear “punched out” and are painful.

Additional signs or traits of arterial ulcers include:

Sores that are red, yellow, or black.

Severe wound

Tight skin without hair

Leg discomfort at night

No bruising

The affected area feels cool or icy to the touch due to poor blood flow

Leg appears pale when elevated and reddens when dangling

Vascular ulcers

Typically, venous ulcers develop on the inside of the ankle and below the knee. Occasionally, there is little to no pain, unless the ulcer is inflamed. Venous ulcers can be unpleasant in various situations.

The following signs and symptoms may also be present in the affected area:




Rough, irritated skin

Flaking or scabbing

Skin with brown or black stains


Why do these ulcers develop?

Ulcers are frequently brought on by poor blood flow. Skin and tissues in the affected areas are deprived of oxygen and nutrients when blood flow is restricted. These regions will swell up and develop an open wound. While ulcers can develop everywhere on the body, arterial and venous ulcers on the legs and feet are more frequent.

Arterial ulcers

Arterial ulcers are frequently brought on by blocked arteries. They are additionally known as ischemic ulcers. Oxygen and nutrients are delivered to various tissues by the arteries. Blood that is nutrient-rich cannot reach the extremities because of clogged arteries. There is an open wound as a result.

These are some additional probable causes of arterial ulcers:




Blood pressure problems

Elevated cholesterol

Kidney disease


Atherosclerosis, or artery thickening


Vascular ulcers

Leg ulcers most frequently occur as venous ulcers. They develop as a result of vein injury. Through one-way valves, the veins are in charge of transporting blood to the heart from numerous bodily organs. These valves stop the blood from leaving the heart.

Blood may collect in one place of the body if blood flow is improper. As a result, the vein is harmed and fluid and blood cells flow out, resulting in edoema, or swelling. This is supposed to inhibit the tissue in the leg from receiving enough blood flow. This tissue will eventually degenerate, and ulcers will start to appear.

These are some additional probable venous ulcer causes:

Enlarged veins

Blood pressure problems


Broken bones or wounds


Issues with blood clotting

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

Heart disease


If your symptoms intensify and are accompanied by any of the following for either kind of ulcer:


An unpleasant odour



These symptoms could be indications of an infection in more severe situations. If untreated, amputation can be required.

How are ulcers on the legs treated?

Your doctor must determine the underlying problem prior to making a therapy recommendation. Antibiotics and adequate care are effective treatments for ulcers, but identifying the underlying cause can help ulcers heal and prevent recurrence.

Ulcers can develop due to a number of situations, such as:


Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)

Rheumatic disease

Arterial illness


Persistent kidney disease

Blood pressure problems

Elevated cholesterol

The main goal of treating an ulcer is to improve blood flow to the damaged area. Additional therapy objectives include of:

Decreasing pain

Efficient wound healing

Accelerating the healing process

Arterial ulcer treatment

Your doctor will attempt to improve blood flow to the damaged area in an effort to treat arterial ulcers. Antibiotics can help treat the underlying cause, but they won’t totally heal the ulcer. In addition to antibiotics, doctors may utilize surgery to reestablish blood flow to tissues and organs.

Angioplasty is one of the surgical procedures available to treat arterial ulcers. In this technique, the damaged artery is opened with a balloon to increase blood flow. Your symptoms will disappear once the blood flow is normalized. Your doctor can suggest amputation if blood flow cannot be restored or if the incision has developed a serious infection.

In order to avoid infection and the wound from getting bigger, arterial ulcers need to be kept dry, clean, and wrapped. Talk to your doctor about how frequently you should change your bandages, as well as any further treatment suggestions or dietary modifications.

How to handle venous ulcers

It may take months for venous ulcers to heal. Rarely, they might never recover. Treatment for arterial ulcers is similar in that it emphasizes enhancing blood flow to the affected area. Antibiotics may be suggested by your doctor to address the underlying cause, avoid infection, and stop recurrences. A venous ulcer, however, cannot be treated with antibiotics alone. How to properly clean and bandage your wound will be demonstrated by your doctor. Additionally, they might advise compression therapy.

This comprises dressing the afflicted area with a compression bandage or stocking. The symptoms are lessened and the blood flow is improved. Painkillers may be recommended by your doctor to ease your suffering. They could also advise you to keep the injured leg or other area elevated.

What is the prognosis?

Circulation and blood flow problems lead to venous and arterial ulcers. These ulcers can result in significant problems if left untreated. Seek quick medical assistance if you start to suffer strange symptoms or detect pain in your lower extremities.

Avoid self-diagnosing. Your wound or your symptoms could be signs of something more serious. To ensure you receive the greatest care, discuss your alternatives and worries with your doctor.

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