vascular ulcer

The vascular (circulatory) system is responsible for blood circulation in the body through veins that pump blood to the heart, and arteries which pump blood away from the heart.

Vascular ulcers are open wounds in the skin which can either be venous ulcers (associated with veins), or arterial ulcers (associated with arteries).

Venous ulcers are the most common type of vascular ulcer, and are caused by dysfunction in vein valves. Venous ulcers are usually irregularly-shaped, and can become quite painful, large and deep, and may exude fluid. They often form over bony areas such as the ankles.

Arterial ulcers (also known as ischemic ulcers) are caused by an insufficient amount of nutrients and oxygen delivered to tissues due to plaque build-up and narrowed arteries. Arterial ulcers usually form in the ankle, feet, heels, or toes and have a well-defined border, and a reddened, shiny, “punched out” appearance. If the ulcer turns black, purple, or the skin is flaky or pussy, gangrene and/or an infection may have set in.

If you an open wound on your ankle, schedule an appointment with a podiatrist as soon as possible to begin treatment.