Wounds on the feet and legs can happen for many reasons – cuts, scrapes, accidents, or even poorly fitting shoes. For most people, these wounds respond quickly to normal first aid treatment, and heal within a few days.
But if you have open, ulcerous sores and skin discoloration on your legs, or wounds on your feet that don't heal, they may be caused by something else. If these wounds persist for more than a month without healing, they could be a sign of peripheral vascular disease, or PVD. These types of wounds might require care from a vascular specialist who can treat both the wounds themselves and the underlying venous or arterial diseases that keep them from healing.
In this article, Dr. Shawn Fleming and Dr. Bradley Thomason, from the best Winston-Salem vascular clinic, talk about these types of leg and foot problems. These noted vascular doctors and wound care specialists explain that these types of non-healing injuries are not normal. They can be caused by circulatory problems in the arteries and veins that supply your legs and feet with blood.
Why wounds on the feet and legs that don't heal can be a sign of PVD
PVD is an umbrella term for several diseases of the arteries and veins that primarily affect the legs and feet. The vein disease called chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) is the primary cause of varicose veins. In the advanced stages of CVI, the skin covering these swollen veins can become brittle and prone to injury. Because CVI impairs blood flow, the wounds don't receive the oxygen and nutrients they need to heal properly, and may turn into venous leg ulcers. These leg ulcers may be quite large (2 to 4 inches in diameter), and may be accompanied by skin discoloration around them.
Another disease called peripheral arterial disease (PAD) is caused by atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries. If you have this condition, your arteries become lined with fatty plaque, reducing blood flow. This can lead to arterial ulcers, which primarily occur in the feet and toes, and can cause foot pain, especially at night. Arterial ulcers are much more dangerous than venous ulcers, because if they become infected they can lead to gangrene, critical limb ischemia, and limb loss. Vascular diseases such as PAD are responsible for over half of the lower limb amputations performed in the US each year.
How do you know if you have vein disease or arterial disease?
It's easy. Make an appointment for a vascular screening at the best vascular clinic in North Carolina, in either our Winston-Salem or Kernersville NHVS locations. The screenings are fast, non-invasive, and painless, but can determine whether you have vein disease or vascular disease in about an hour.
If you do, the vascular specialists at NHVS can treat the underlying diseases using the most advanced treatment techniques available. If the vascular disease has resulted in wounds that don't heal, we also offer Advanced Wound Therapies that can promote and speed wound healing.
So if the symptoms we have described in this article sound familiar to you – or if you just want to be sure about the state of your vascular health – give our experts a call at 336-245-4890 or go online to schedule an appointment.