They can be found on places of your body you can see, such as a leg ulcer found on the skin, or in places you can’t see, such as a peptic ulcer in the lining of your stomach or upper intestine. From your eye to your foot, you can get them just about anywhere on your body.
Injuries, diseases, and infections can cause them. What they look like depends on where you have them and how you got them. While some go away on their own, others cause serious problems if you don’t treat them.
Leg and Foot Ulcers
These can be painful and may take months to heal. They vary in how they look, from red splotches that ooze to darkened patches of swollen skin.
What causes them? Most start with an injury that doesn’t heal well because of some other health issue — usually, a blood flow problem.
- A history of blood clots in your legs
- You’ve had swelling in your legs before
- Limited ability to move around
- Osteoarthritis (when cartilage on the ends of your bones wears down)
- Varicose veins
If you have problems with your arteries, such as plaque buildup (atherosclerosis), you may get arterial ulcers. Typically, you get these on your feet and toes.
Diabetes can cause nerve and blood flow problems that lead to ulcers. They usually show up on your feet. When you have diabetes, it’s best to check your feet for even minor injuries every day.
What problems can they lead to? If untreated, leg and foot ulcers can lead to:
- Having a foot or part of your leg removed (sometimes a problem with diabetic ulcers)
- Osteoporosis (when your bones become weak and easily break in a fall)
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