Venous ulcers are open skin sores that most commonly appear around the ankles. When ulceration begins, there is partial skin loss in an already abnormal area. Venous ulcers are generally superficial, irregular in shape, and have moderate-to-high amounts of drainage.

Women are three times more likely than men to have a venous insufficiency ulcer. The risk of ulceration is 7.5 times greater in individuals over the age of 65. Although ulcers are rarely life-threatening, they cause much morbidity from pain, discomfort, and fluid discharge.

  • Leg swelling, heaviness, and cramping
  • Dark red, purple, brown, hardened skin (this is a sign that blood is pooling)
  • Itching and tingling
  • Shallow sore with a red base, sometimes covered by yellow tissue
  • Surrounding skin may be shiny, tight, warm or hot, and discolored
  • Leg pain
  • If the sore becomes infected, it may have a bad odor and pus may drain from the wound
  • Problems with blood flow (circulation) in your leg veins
  • Damaged valves inside leg veins
  • An increase in blood pressure in legs