Ulcers are open sores or breaks in the skin caused by infection, injury, burns or other health conditions.
Skin ulcers are called in many different ways, including cuts, sores, wounds, and skin sores. These terms refer to skin ulcers of all locations and backgrounds.
A skin ulcer is usually a depressed area on the skin that is darker than the surrounding skin. A flat spot appears on the skin. A painful area may be located in the center of these sores. The colour of a skin ulcer ranges from light purple to light brown. A circular shape may be visible in some areas of a skin ulcer. The white colour of the surrounding tissue may also be visible through the edges of a flat area.
Causes of Skin Ulcers
Skin ulcers are commonly referred to as open sores. They can affect any part of the skin and occur due to various reasons.
Skin ulcers are most commonly a result of five conditions:
Pressure: Ulcers may occur when there is excessive pressure on a part of the skin. This can happen if you have a bony protrusion or if you are using an armrest that is too high. A surgical cast or tight clothing is also another common cause of pressure ulcers.
Abrasions: Frequent scratching and rubbing against a surface can cause abrasions and subsequent skin ulcers. This condition is commonly referred to as "chronic rubbing".
Neuropathy: When the nerves are damaged due to diabetes or other reasons, it can lead to numbness and lack of sensation in the affected area. This reduces your ability to detect any discomfort or injury, therefore increasing your risk of developing skin ulcers.
Venous Insufficiency: Venous insufficiency occurs when your veins can’t send blood from your legs to your heart. Blood keeps collecting in your leg veins that eventually leads to swelling. If the swelling is severe, it can put pressure on your skin, ultimately leading to ulcers.
Vitamin B12 deficiency: This is caused due to vitamin B12 deficiency, which can lead to anaemia. Vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to skin ulcers because of its role in the production of healthy red blood cells that are responsible for transporting oxygen throughout the body.
Symptoms of Skin Ulcers
A skin ulcer is an open sore that does not close when it’s no longer being injured. Ulcers can occur in response to a variety of ailments or conditions, such as injuries, burns, infections and even cancer.
If you are suffering from diabetes, it can be a symptom that you need to be vigilant about. Over time, diabetes can lead to nerve damage called peripheral neuropathy. You may lose the sense of touch in your feet and legs. After which you won’t feel injuries or cuts on your legs and feet. If these injuries are left untreated, they can turn into skin ulcers. Diabetes slows down the wound healing process which is another big negative factor that must be kept in mind.
Other symptoms of skin ulcers include:
- Swelling, tenderness and redness
- Skin discolouration
- Changes in skin texture
- Yellow or green pus (due to an infection)
Skin Ulcers Diagnosis
Skin ulcers can be detected by performing different tests. This might include:
- Checking medical history
- Performing a physical exam to examine the size and depth of your ulcer.
- Blood tests to examine how your body is fighting the infection.
- Imaging tests like X-ray, CT scan and MRI can help your doctor examine the tissue and bone under the sore.
Home Remedies and Medical Treatment for Skin Ulcers
There are a lot of skin ulcers that can develop as a result of many skin conditions. It’s important to differentiate them from other skin rashes because the treatment also varies for each one. While some of them can be treated at home, others need regular visits to the doctor. The most common types of skin ulcers that can be treated using home remedies are skin ulcers caused due to eczema.
If you have developed a skin ulcer because of an allergy such as eczema, it is important to know that it is not a serious condition and can be treated easily. In this case, home remedies for eczema that include cool washes, application of topical corticosteroid creams and using non-allergic moisturizers would help to heal the skin ulcer. It is also important to ensure that the affected area remains covered at all times so as to prevent further damage.
Other home remedies include compression socks, cleaning the wound with saline solution, applying ground turmeric on the affected area and dressing the wound with the help of high-quality honey as it has healing properties.
Medical treatments include wound dressing, antibiotics, pain medication and surgery.
Usually, non-infected skin ulcers do not require surgery but if you have been diagnosed with a large sore, you might need a skin graft for proper wound healing.
Ulcers are wounds on the skin that are open to the surface of the body. The skin is a very protective barrier that covers and holds in the internal organs that make up our bodies.
Skin ulcers can be caused by a range of factors like improper nutrition, a history of diabetes, poor blood circulation and infections around the area. Common skin ulcers that most people experience are pressure sores, bedsores and decubitus ulcers.