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Venous Ulcers

Sore That Develops After Vein Damage

Venous ulcers are common, affecting up to 500,000 Americans each year.

Ulcers are open sores or wounds that will not heal or recur. Venous ulcers are sores that develop after veins in the legs have been damaged and penetrate deep into the skin.

Location

Venous ulcers are located below your knee and are usually found on the inner part of your leg, just above your ankles. They typically form on your skin near varicose veins, especially near the ankles. They may affect one or both legs.

Appearance

  • The base of a venous ulcer is usually red.
  • It may also be covered with yellow fibrous tissue, and there may be a green or yellow discharge if infected.
  • There can be significant fluid drainage.
  • Borders of venous ulcers are irregularly shaped and surrounding skin may be discolored or swollen.
  • It may feel hot to the touch.
  • The skin may also appear shiny.
  • Infection of the skin (cellulitis) often develops around a venous ulcer.
    • Typically, the infected skin is red, warm, swollen, and tender.
    • Red streaks occasionally appear.
    • A brown colored spot on the skin usually begins before an ulcer forms.

Contact Information

Vascular and Endovascular Surgery
Division of the CardioVascular Institute
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
West Campus, Lowry Medical Office Building
110 Francis Street, Suite 5B
Boston, MA 02215
617-632-9959

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