Venous leg ulcers, or venous stasis ulcers, are painful open wounds on the leg or ankle that do not heal for weeks or months. Unhealthy or damaged veins lead to poor blood circulation and cause venous ulcers. Common risk factors include blood clots, diabetes, obesity, aging, and injury.
If veins cannot effectively push blood back up to the heart, excess blood then pools and can build up pressure. The increased pressure and fluid build-up blocks essential oxygen and nutrients from reaching body tissue. As a result, tissue becomes damaged and forms a wound. Furthermore, oxygen and nutrients from blood circulation are crucial for wound healing. So, lack of new blood slows wound healing, leading to an ulcer.
Ulcers can worsen quickly left untreated, increasing the risk of complications and limb loss.
Leg discoloration is another symptom of venous insufficiency. It can also be caused by diabetes, but here we will focus on discoloration from venous conditions.