An ulcer is a breakage in the skin that allows air and bacteria to get into the tissue. However, when there’s an underlying problem, the skin doesn’t heal fast enough, and the wound grows. If the reason for the ulcer not healing is poor circulation as a result of blocked or compromised arteries in the leg, it is called an arterial ulcer, also known as an ischemic ulcer.
Ischemia refers to a blood supply restriction that leads to tissue necrosis and ulceration.
Ulcers are mainly caused by skin injuries provoked by accident or trauma, but for most people, those wounds usually heal within a week or two. An arterial ulcer is formed because of poor delivery of blood to the body’s lower extremities, caused by several conditions, such as vascular disease, renal failure, high blood pressure, arteriosclerosis or atherosclerosis, age, or trauma.
Arterial ulcers are often found on the heels, the outer ankle, between, or on the tips of the toes. The wounds are characterized by their depth, extending down to the underlying muscle, round in shape, and with well-defined margins. The base is yellow or brown and typically does not bleed. The limb usually feels cold to the touch, and its base color may turn red when dangled and pale when elevated.
Arterial Ulcers are often very painful, even more at night. Some patients even have to hang their legs out of bed or sleep in a chair to get relief. Also, antibiotics are crucial because these wounds are infection-prone, so it keeps the wound area as dry as possible.
Treatment is needed to improve the blood flow to the extremities, surgically or medically. Surgical measures range from revascularization to amputation and rehabilitation. As for non-surgical options, modifying contributing factors can slow or stop the progression of ischemia.
Signature nurses will assess the patient thoroughly and monitor for ulcers. Nursing goals include improving circulation, conservatively debriding the wound, and controlling pain. Our nurses will help the patients with ways and measures for long-lasting results, such as using compression socks and bandages, elevation exercises with the legs to help with swelling, moisturizing daily to reduce itching, and staying active throughout the day.
Our nurses will help with occlusive dressings to protect the ulcer from infection, control fluid leaks, reduce pain, and maintain a healing environment. Teaching patients self-care is an essential part of recovery.
For more information on how Signature Health Services can help with your healthcare needs, please call 1 (800) 277-8291 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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