Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Venous skin ulcer
A venous skin ulcer is a shallow wound caused by venous insufficiency, a condition in which the valves in the blood vessels are damaged and allow some blood to back up in the veins. The slowed circulation causes fluid to seep out of the overfilled veins into surrounding tissues, causing tissue breakdown and ulcers.
Venous skin ulcers, also called stasis leg ulcers, typically develop on either side of the lower leg, above the ankle and below the calf.
The first sign of a skin ulcer is an affected area of skin that turns dark red or purple. It may also become thickened and dry and itchy. Without treatment, an open wound (ulcer) may form. Venous skin ulcers often weep clear fluid and are covered with yellowish film.
The most effective treatment for venous skin ulcers is frequent elevation of the legs above the level of the heart and use of compression stockings during waking hours.
Current as of: March 4, 2020
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review:E. Gregory Thompson MD - Internal Medicine & Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine & Margaret Doucette DO - Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Wound Care, Hyperbaric Medicine
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2020 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.