Leg ulcers are open wounds that are hard to heal. That’s why treating leg ulcers is so tricky. And why new treatment studies and technology are so important. Today, we’ll explore two of those factors. The first is a new study related to the timing of treating leg ulcers. The second is a new technology for treating leg ulcers. Launched by FeelTect, an Irish startup, this ‘Tight Alright’ technology is intended for use in a new medical device. It will sense pressure to help with detecting and treating leg ulcers. But to understand why and how these treatments will work, we must first explore what causes venous leg ulcers.
What are Venous Leg Ulcers and Why Do They Form?
Venous leg ulcers are chronic wounds that develop because of venous insufficiency, a condition in which your body can’t circulate blood from your lower limbs. Venous insufficiency sets in when tiny valves in your veins stop working well. Instead of forcing blood back up towards the heart, it pools your legs. Then, your veins get stretched out and fluid builds up in your lower limbs.
You may be at risk for venous leg ulcers if you have a high Body Mass Index (BMI). Living a sedentary lifestyle can increase your risk. As can high blood pressure. Finally, if your veins are insufficient, you have deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and/or a family history of these conditions, you’re more likely to develop an ulcer.
Treating Venous Leg Ulcers
Compression therapy is a great first treatment for leg ulcers. The pressure placed on the veins in your lower legs can help get pooling blood out of the area, taking the pressure off your bulging veins and making the excess fluid less likely to contribute to existing ulcers, or to allow new ones to develop.
Now, compression therapy isn’t perfect. If doctors apply too much pressure, it can cut off all circulation to your limbs. Not enough pressure, and the treatment will be wholly ineffective. And, since compression devices cover the area being treated, it can be tough for doctors to determine just how much pressure is being delivered to your veins.
The Tight Alright device is intended to work in conjunction with compression therapy. Using wireless technology, the device measures and monitors the amount of pressure being delivered to your leg beneath the compression bandages.
Alternative Treatments for Leg Ulcers
Clearly, compression therapy isn’t perfect. And while new technology can help, changing treatment protocols may make a bigger difference. According to a new study in JAMA Surgery, compression therapy may not be the best first course of action.
In a clinical trial, 450 leg ulcer patients were instead treated with early interventions. And the results were astounding: patients healed faster. And had a lower risk of repeat problems with ulcers. Their outcomes were better than for those patients who first tried treating leg ulcers with compression therapy. And then turned to other interventions.
As vein specialists in the Houston area, we watching tall the developments when it comes to treating leg ulcers. That way we can always deliver the most up-to-date care for all our patients who are living with vein disease. Ready to explore your leg ulcer treatment options? Schedule an appointment with our specialists today!