Venous Ulcers vs Arterial Ulcers

Perhaps you have noticed someone wearing a compression wrap and wondered what that was for.  The compression wraps as you see in the picture are generally used to treat venous ulcers.  Many people understand they have a problem with their circulation but do not understand why.  The differences between venous ulcers and arterial ulcers are not always clear, and have slightly different characteristics that are often confused when not evaluated by a professional.

What is a Venous Ulcer?

A venous ulcer is a type of wound that develops on the skin. It is a  wound that occurs when the leg veins don’t return blood back toward the heart the way they should.  There is increased venous pressure which eventually can cause breakdown of the skin.  This is called venous insufficiency and is commonly found in the area above the ankle.  Venous stasis ulcers are the most common cause of foot and ankle skin ulcerations.

What is an Arterial Ulcer?

Approximately 10% of all leg ulcers are arterial ulcers, where there is an inadequate blood supply to the tissues due to arterial disease, where narrowing and hardening of the arteries supplied to the legs and feet occur.

Characteristics of Venous and Arterial Ulcers

Patients with venous ulcers and arterial ulcers often have the following characteristics:

Venous Ulcers Arterial Ulcers
Uneven edges Well defined edges
Reddish brown pigmentation Deep pale base
Pale dead tissue may line ulcer crater Black or necrotic tissue
Leg may be warm Leg may be cool
Fluid will leak from ulcer Ulcer is dry
Moderate to no pain at all Intense leg pain
 May have other skin changes such as dark brown areas around the ankle, itching, eczema Dry shiny skin, hair loss
 located around the ankle located on distal toes

Patient History

Patients with venous ulcers and arterial ulcers often have a history of the following:

Venous Ulcers Arterial Ulcers
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) Aging
Obesity Diabetes
Calf muscle pump function deficits Arteriosclerosis
Valvular incompetence in superficial perforating veins Smoking, Hypertension, High cholesterol

If you have concerns about your arteries or leg pain, let the doctor at Lakeshore Veins  Center near you guide you in the right direction. Our venous experts offer a number of minimally invasive, in-office procedures, such as varicose vein removal in, to rid you of your leg pain before it leads to more serious complications. The professionals at Lakeshore Veins serving  Sheboygan, Milwaukee and Mequon offer new technologies with more than 40 years of combined experience and know how to create a personalized treatment plan for your leg pain. Our varicose vein removal and other vein procedures, is performed in a comfortable relaxing atmosphere where relief may only be a simple procedure away.

Call (262) 241-3999 or Contact Us Online to set up a consultation today.

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