Venous leg ulcers are shallow, irregular-shaped ulcers that often appear beefy and red. Typically, they are located below the knee, usually on the insides of the legs just above the ankles, however, they can occur almost anywhere on the lower leg. Venous leg ulcers are related to chronic venous insufficiency, a condition in which the veins in the leg are inadequate at pumping blood back towards the heart. As a result, fluid and blood products leak through the vessel walls into the surrounding tissue.
Chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) or bad veins is the condition that causes venous leg ulcers. Arteries are the blood vessels that bring blood away from the heart, to the rest of the body, including the legs. Veins are the blood vessels that bring blood back to the heart. They have one-way valves that help to prevent the backflow of blood when pumping against gravity. Many factors contribute to the development of CVI and venous leg ulcers, including deep vein thrombosis, varicosities, decreased mobility, obesity, trauma, family history, or traumatic injury. These conditions can cause damage to the veins and the valves, complicating their ability to pump blood out of the veins. As a result, blood pools and causes the veins to swell.