A minor cut or scrape usually isn’t a big deal. You may apply a bandage until the bleeding stops and a scab forms, but other than that your body takes over and it’s easy to forget that the injury even happened.
Then you get older. Perhaps you’ve noticed that nicks and cuts began to linger on your lower legs or foot before finally healing, and now you’re dealing with a weeks-old scab that looks as fresh as it did the day after the wound happened. There comes a time when you should never ignore leg or foot sores that won’t heal.
Slow-healing wounds on your legs or feet require medical attention, both for the wound itself and potentially the treatment of an underlying condition that’s slowing your body’s ability to heal.
Advanced Vascular Cardiac & Veins in Miami, Florida, is the place to start. As foot and leg ulcer specialists, we can help you with your leg and foot sores as well as many of the causes behind slow healing.
In the United States, about 3-5% of the population over the age of 65 has non-healing sores on their legs or feet, up to four times above the adult average. Age is a risk factor for leg ulcers, but these aren’t an inevitable part of getting older.
Sores affect the legs and feet most often because of the extra pressure on vein walls in the lower body. They must work against gravity to return blood up to the heart and lungs, so any factor that adds to the workload of veins could contribute to conditions that lead to leg or foot ulcers. These include:
Injuries or surgeries to the legs or feet could also increase your risk of leg or foot ulcers. There are also medical conditions that are more directly connected to leg and foot ulcers and slow-healing wounds.
The effects of elevated blood sugar levels take a toll on both blood vessels and nerve tissues. When nerve damage occurs, you may not have the sensitivity in your lower limbs to feel pain accompanying your sores. Diabetics also tend to develop fatty deposits in blood vessels, restricting blood flow, a necessary part of the healing process.
You don’t need to be diabetic to experience these fatty deposits, though. Referred to as plaque and known in general as atherosclerosis, it’s called peripheral arterial disease (PAD) when it affects your feet and legs. This reduces the efficiency of blood circulation in the legs and feet.
Veins have small valves along their length, preventing the backward flow of blood. Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) occurs when these veins begin to fail, allowing the pooling of blood in the lower legs or feet. This can cause inflammation and irritation of the skin, leading to sores developing from beneath the skin’s surface.
Leg or foot sores that won’t heal could point to potential health trouble, even when they don’t cause pain, so book your consultation today.