Ulcers are wounds, or sores, that do not heal.
Often, foot and leg ulcers are a result from a heart or vascular condition, or other health problem.
To request an appointment, contact the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute:
An ulcer is a type of wound or sore that doesn't heal or that returns over and over again.
Leg ulcers and foot ulcers often result from cardiovascular or other health conditions.
They may appear:
The most common type of foot and leg ulcer (venous) affects 500,000 to 2 million Americans every year.
Wound care specialists at the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute are a vital part of the ulcer treatment team.
Causes of ulcers in your feet and legs often include:
People with health problems that may cause foot and leg ulcers should regularly check their feet.
UPMC pioneered wound care in western Pennsylvania, starting the first wound clinic in the area.
We also have expertise in assessing and treating diabetic foot wounds.
Not all foot and leg ulcers are painful.
Depending on the type, foot and leg ulcers may:
Early signs that an ulcer is forming include:
A doctor will first discuss your medical history and take a close look at the wound. He or she may refer you to a wound care specialist as well.
You'll likely have imaging tests — such as an ultrasound and leg blood pressures — to help your doctor design your treatment plan.
The best way to prevent ulcers is to manage chronic health conditions, quit smoking, and keep a healthy lifestyle.
Tips for preventing foot and leg ulcers:
The goals of treatment are to lessen your pain and symptoms, prevent future ulcers, and heal the wound.
Ulcers may require the expertise of a wound care specialist, as they're hard to heal. He or she will show you how to care for the wound at home and promote healing.
You will need to keep a clean bandage on the wound and change the dressing regularly.
Other foot and leg ulcer treatments may include:
Your doctor will also show you how to properly care for your feet, especially if you have diabetes.