How is a venous leg ulcer diagnosed

How is a venous leg ulcer diagnosed the appearance of a venous leg ulcer is usually fairly typical. It often looks different to ulcers caused by other problems such as poor circulation or nerve problems.

To rule out poor circulation as a cause, it is usual for a doctor or nurse to check the blood pressure in the ankle and in the arm.

The ankle blood pressure reading is divided by the arm blood pressure reading to give a blood pressure ratio called the Ankle Brachial Pressure Index (ABPI).

If the ratio is low (less than 0.8) it indicates that the cause of the ulcer is likely to be poor circulation (peripheral arterial disease) rather than venous problems.

This is very important to know as the treatments are very different. An ABPI may be checked every six months or so to make sure the circulation to the legs remains good.

Certain blood and urine tests may also be done to rule out conditions such as anaemia, diabetes, kidney problems and rheumatoid arthritis, which may cause or aggravate certain types of skin ulcer.

In complicated cases you may need to have an ultrasound scan, CT scan or scan to produce a detailed map of the blood circulation in your leg.

How is a venous leg ulcer diagnosed