Treatment for Foot Ulcers
It is important to have foot ulcers treated immediately, because they can worsen in a short period of time. If left untreated, an ulcer can quickly become an abscess and infection can spread to the underlying fatty tissue and even the bone. These types of infections can easily lead to gangrene.
At Yale Vascular Surgery, our team includes nationally renowned surgeons who are dedicated to helping patients affected by foot ulcers. They will help determine the best-possible comprehensive treatment by using the latest technology and compassionate care.
Should you require surgery, our surgeons will review your surgical plan with you, in detail, so that you know what to expect before, during, and after the surgery.
The goal of treatment for foot ulcers is to relieve pain and to speed recovery. Non-surgical treatment of ulcers may include:
- Antibiotics, if an infection is present
- Antiplatelet or anticlotting medications to prevent a blood clot
- Topical wound care therapies
- Compression stockings or bandages to minimize swelling
At home, patients can:
- Lift legs above the level of the heart as often as possible. For example, when lying down, prop the legs up with pillows
- Be certain to use compression stockings or bandages, removing them only when bathing or sleeping
- Walk daily if possible
- Gently cleanse affected area daily with a mild soap, and thoroughly dry the area
Venous Ulcer Treatment
Venous ulcers are treated mostly with compression and dressing. Dressings may include:
- Moist to moist dressings
- Alginate dressings
- Collagen wound dressings
- Debriding agents
- Antimicrobial dressings
- Composite dressings
- Synthetic skin substitutes
Arterial Ulcer Treatment
Arterial ulcer treatments have the goal of providing protection to the skin’s surface, prevention of new ulcers, removing any contact irritation to the existing ulcer, and monitoring symptoms of infection. Endovascular or bypass surgery may be used to restore circulation to the affected foot.
Endovascular procedures include methods to open the artery. The most common endovascular techniques are angioplasty (Endovascular Angioplasty), which uses a balloon or other method to open the blocked artery, or the placement of a stent (Endovascular Stent Repair), which is a tiny, expandable metal coil placed inside an artery to keep the artery open.
For more extensive blockages, bypass surgery may be required.
In bypass surgery, a Y-shaped tube made of synthetic fabric, called a graft, is attached to the aorta above the blockage to create a detour around the narrowed or blocked sections of the artery.
Diabetic (Neurotrophic) Ulcer Treatment
Treatment for diabetic ulcers includes avoiding pressure and weight-bearing on the affected leg and regular removal of affected tissue. Special shoes or orthotic devices may also be necessary.