Healing and Preventing Leg Ulcers

Every year in the US, 2.5 million individuals develop leg ulcers, the majority of these are due to severe venous insufficiency, or poor circulation.   Healing a leg ulcer is a long, slow process that requires compliance and perseverance.  Swelling in the leg needs to be reduced, and blood flow to the affected area needs to be reestablished.  This is typically accomplished with a combination of compression bandages and compression stockings.  Once healed, it’s imperative that compression be used on a regular basis to prevent the ulcer from reoccurring.

Mediven recently introduced a new double sock combination for the treatment and prevention of venous ulcers.   Consisting of a low compression closed toe stocking liner, with a higher compression outer stocking, the Dual Sock System is available in 30-40 mmHg and 40-50mmHg.  Layering socks makes wearing a higher compressions much more comfortable, and comfort along with ease of donning increases compliance.

Mediven Dual Layer Sock

Wearing two socks together has a number of advantages.  The inner liner sock has a light compression, which makes it much easier to put on.  It can be donned without disturbing a wound or wound dressing.  Treated with ClimaFresh Odor Protection, the inner sock also helps inhibit bacterial growth.  The liner can be worn alone at night, if prescribed by your doctor, although care needs to be taken that it doesn’t roll-down.  Studies have shown that wearing two socks in combination, offers better containment than a single stocking.  And finally, the inner sock makes it MUCH easier to put on the higher compression outer sock.

Mediven’s Dual Layer Sock System is sold in pairs, 2-liners and 2-outer stockings, along with a foot slippie to make donning even easier.  Both compression levels are Medicare approved, if you have an active venous ulcer on your leg.

Compression Stockings More Cost Effective than Bandages for Leg Ulcer Treatment

A new study looked at the difference in treating leg ulcers with bandages versus compression stockings. While both treatments are effective in healing leg ulcers, the study found that compression stockings are often a less expensive treatment and better for legs long term.

The trial, conducted by researchers from the universities of Manchester and York monitored 454 people using either compression stockings or traditional bandages to treat leg ulcers.

Venous leg ulcers are chronic wounds that occur because of damage or blockage to leg veins which subsequently causes skin breakdown. Leg ulcers are painful and chronic, recurring often.

Bandages apply pressure to the wound and have been a traditional form of treatment for leg ulcers. It takes time to apply them correctly, and they often require frequent nurse visits to change the bandages. Bandages are applied in many layers that can become bulky, interfering with clothing and footwear.

Compression stockings work in a similar way – applying pressure to the wound and increasing circulation to help heal the wound. While a nurse is often needed to apply compression stockings on a patient, many patients learn to don them independently, saving expense on nurse visits. The study also reported less ulcer recurrence after using the stockings.

But, the study also found that not everyone liked to wear the stockings – more participants changed from compression stockings to another treatment compared with those in the bandage group.

Both compression stockings and bandages were found to heal leg ulcers in the same amount of time. So ultimately, the choice of treatment is based on your comfort. What will you wear consistently so that your legs have time to heal?

BrightLife Direct has a variety of compression stockings and bandages and we are always happy to answer any questions you might have about products.

Read more about this study here and more information on treating a leg ulcer here.

Best Socks for Diabetics

SmartKnit Crew SockTaking proper care of your feet is incredibly important to anyone with diabetes. Diabetics often suffer from poor circulation and neuropathy, which can lead to very serious foot problems including infection and in some cases amputation. Finding a sock that will increase circulation, reduce moisture around the foot, and limit the formation of blisters or ulcers should be a priority for diabetics.

When looking for the right diabetic socks, it’s important to consider the following factors:

  • Compression: Light compression socks (8-15 mmHg) will increase the circulation in the legs, helping to energize the legs by bringing fresh oxygenated blood to the feet and ankles. Increased circulation can also help heal minor wounds or muscle injuries on the leg and feet more quickly.
  • White Socks: Diabetics tend to have low nerve sensitivity in their feet, also called neuropathy. This means that if you stub your toe or step on a sharp object during the day, you might not immediately realize you’ve injured your foot or broken the skin.  Wearing white or light colored socks – that will easily show blood – can be incredibly helpful in these situations as you will be quickly alerted when you remove your shoes that you have injured your foot.
  • Moisture-wicking Fabric: A wound on the foot can be extremely dangerous for a diabetic as the body has a much more difficult time fighting infection and healing. By wearing socks that wick away moisture and kill bacteria, diabetics can reduce the chance of infection.  Socks that are woven with silver and copper thread can kill 99% of bacteria on the foot.  Additionally, many diabetic socks are made with moisture-wicking polyester or acrylic fabrics.
  • Seams: Regular socks often have seams at the toe and heel that can irritate sensitive skin by rubbing against it throughout the day. This daily irritation can lead to the formation of blisters or open wounds. To avoid this, only consider seamless socks that minimize pressure points on the foot.

If you’re looking for diabetic socks, with or without compression, be sure to check out our diabetic socks page. There are several types of socks that have low compression and plenty of cushioning to prevent blisters and abrasions. These socks are available in crew, low cut, and knee-high sizes and in a wide range of prices.
By Brita @ BrightLife Direct

Treating A Leg Ulcer

A venous stasis ulcer is an open sore, usually on the lower leg above the ankle bone, that won’t heal.  The reason it won’t heal is because there isn’t enough blood flowing to that area of your leg.

If you have a leg ulcer, you should see a doctor as soon as possible.  Left untreated, this area of dying tissue can spread and if bad enough, result in amputation.  Medicare, Medicaid, and almost all insurance will cover the treatment of a leg ulcer.

Basic treatment starts with cleaning and disinfecting the wound.  If you have an infection, antibiotics may be prescribed.  Once cleaned, the ulcer is bandaged and then your leg is either wrapped with compression bandages or a compression stocking to increase the flow of blood so you can heal.

Once you leave the doctors office or hospital, continued care at home is critical or you’ll be back in the hospital with a more serious problem.  Keep the wound clean.  Wash your leg and foot daily with a mild soap (Dreft or Ivory Snow) and warm water.  After you’ve washed and thoroughly dried your leg, apply a clean bandage to the ulcer.  Moisturizing the other parts of your leg and foot with a lanolin-based lotion (Lubriderm, Eucerin) will help keep your skin healthy.  Now rewrap or put on the compression stocking as instructed.

Many compression stocking manufacturers market an Ulcer Kit, which is made up of two stockings; an ulcer liner and an outer compression stocking.  The combined compression is about 40mmHg, the recommended level for treating a leg ulcer.

This two sock system has several benefits.   Ulcer liners are less expensive than the outer compression stocking, so you can buy 3 or 4 which makes cleaning them daily much easier.  The liner protects the compression stocking from bodily fluids and holds bandages in place when donning the stocking.  Finally, ulcer liners provide mild compression and can be worn at night while you sleep, which improves blood flow and healing.  Although a little more expensive, ulcer liners with silver in the fabric help prevent further infection.  Silver is naturally antimicrobial and antifungal, so it protects your leg from bacteria and infection.

If you can’t afford an Ulcer Kit, pairing an ulcer liner with a 30-40mmHg open toe compression stocking is an alternative.    Whichever treatment your doctor recommends, keeping your leg clean and using compression as prescribed is critical to healing your ulcer.

By: Pete@BrightLife Direct