Wound Care Articles and Insights
January 16, 2024

Confronting Chronic Venous Insufficiency: Strategies for Managing and Preventing Venous Leg Ulcers

Kallie Christensen

Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI) is a condition characterized by the improper functioning of veins, hindering the smooth flow of blood back to the heart. This can lead to a variety of complications and issues like incompetent valves, varicose veins that affect up to 25 million Americans annually,  and venous leg ulcers. Venous ulcers are one of the most prevalent and challenging issues faced by many when it comes to CVI, with over 600,000 individuals developing an ulcer every year. 

One of the most common symptoms of venous insufficiency and increased risk of ulceration is edema of the lower leg. Edema can be very painful as the leg will swell and stretch, feeling like an inflated balloon. The skin will slowly change in color as blood pools under the skin. In addition to swelling, there may also be:

  • Pain
  • Itching
  • Discolored or hardened skin
  • Heavy feeling in your leg
  • Aching 

“Accounting for 90% of all lower limb ulcers, VLUs can persist from weeks to years leading to complications like osteomyelitis, cellulitis, and, on occasion, malignant change. Ulcers resulting from CVI can have a significant impact on the patient’s quality of life as well as increasing the risk of morbidity and mortality” Explains Wound Care Advantage's CNO, Christina Le “Which is why we direct our clients to practice preventive measures and use the gold standard in treatment, compression, when it comes to venous leg ulcers in our patients.”

Since Venous ulcers have a high recurrence rate, patients that are suffering for CVI or already have an ulcer, are encouraged to implement the following lifestyle changes to help heal and prevent further ulceration:

  • Maintain a healthy weight or work  with your doctor for a weight loss plan. 
  • Exercise 3-5 times a week.
  • Walk & do calf raises every day
  • Eat a well balanced diet
  • Stop Smoking
  • Limit Alcohol intake
  • Avoid standing for long periods of time
  • Wear compression wraps & stockings 

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