Stasis Ulcer

Stasis ulcers occur in the legs when the circulation is damaged. An ulcer may look like a small hole in the skin.

CAUSES

Stasis ulcers occur because your veins do not work properly. Veins have valves that help the blood return to the heart. If these valves do not work right, blood flows backwards and backs up into the veins near the skin. This condition causes the veins to become larger because of increased pressure and may lead to a stasis ulcer.

SYMPTOMS

  • Shallow (superficial) sore on the leg.

  • Clear drainage or weeping from the sore.

  • Leg pain or a feeling of heaviness. This may be worse at the end of the day.

  • Leg swelling.

  • Skin color changes.

DIAGNOSIS

Your caregiver will make a diagnosis by examining your leg. Your caregiver may order tests such as an ultrasound or other studies to evaluate the blood flow of the leg.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

  • Do not stand or sit in one position for long periods of time. Do not sit with your legs crossed. Rest with your legs raised during the day. If possible, it is best if you can elevate your legs above your heart for 30 minutes, 3 to 4 times a day.

  • Wear elastic stockings or support hose. Do not wear other tight encircling garments around legs, pelvis, or waist. This causes increased pressure in your veins. If your caregiver has applied compressive medicated wraps, use them as instructed.

  • Walk as much as possible to increase blood flow. If you are taking long rides in a car or plane, take a break to walk around every 2 hours. If not already on aspirin, take a baby aspirin before long trips unless you have medical reasons that prohibit this.

  • Raise the foot of your bed at night with 2-inch blocks if approved by your caregiver. This may not be desirable if you have heart failure or breathing problems.

  • If you get a cut in the skin over the vein and the vein bleeds, lie down with your leg raised and gently clean the area with a clean cloth. Apply pressure on the cut until the bleeding stops. Then place a dressing on the cut. See your caregiver if it continues to bleed or needs stitches. Also, see your caregiver if you develop an infection. Signs of an infection include a fever, redness, increased pain, and drainage of pus.

  • If your caregiver has given you a follow-up appointment, it is very important to keep that appointment. Not keeping the appointment could result in a chronic or permanent injury, pain, and disability. If there is any problem keeping the appointment, call your caregiver for assistance.

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • The ulcer area starts to break down.

  • You have pain, redness, tenderness, pus, or hard swelling in your leg over a vein or near the ulcer.

  • Your leg pain is uncomfortable.

  • You develop an unexplained fever.

  • You develop chest pain or shortness of breath.