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.

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