Where chronic venous insufficiency (+/- varicose veins) have persisted for a long time, the skin cannot get rid of toxins and starts to deteriorate. It gets thinner, dry and scaly and itchy (varicose eczema), darkens and finally breaks down causing an ulcer. These ulcers are painful and may not heal for months requiring daily bandaging and creams. They often smell and can be very troublesome, debilitating and upsetting.
If the ulcer is caused by venous insufficiency (which can be demonstrated on duplex scanning) it may be possible to treat the veins (laser ablation) and allow the skin to heal.
The pictures show a painful ulcer caused by varicose vein reflux. The ulcer had been present for 7 months. Following treatment with laser ablation, the ulcer healed within 3 weeks.