Because women with chronic vein disease often suffer from skin problems such as rashes and painful ulcers (sores) on the legs, proper skin care is extremely important.
- Check your legs and feet every day, including the tops, bottom, and sides of your feet and the backs of your legs. Use a mirror or ask a family member for help checking hard-to-see areas. Look for:
- Ulcers (open sores), often between the lower calf and ankle
- Open wounds or cuts
- Itchy, scaly, or discolored skin
- Tender, irritated, or painful areas
- New or worsening leg or foot swelling
- Call your doctor right away if you notice any leg or foot problems. Do not wait to see if they go away, and do not try to treat them yourself.
- Wash your feet daily with warm (not hot) water and mild soap and dry them thoroughly before getting dressed. Keep your legs and feet well moisturized, but do not use moisturizer between the toes because this can increase the risk of a fungal infection (athlete's foot).
- Always wear comfortable shoes that fit well. Avoid shoes and clothing that rub your feet or legs, or are tight enough to leave marks on your skin when you take them off. When you get new shoes, break them in gradually, and do not wear them all day.
- Make sure your healthcare provider checks your feet at every office visit. You should have a leg and foot exam at least once a year, or more often if you already have skin problems.
Talking to your doctor immediately about any skin problems or wounds is very important—without treatment they can spread and become infected, sometimes requiring amputation. Nearly all leg ulcers will heal in a few weeks with proper treatment. Compression stockings, compression bandages, and steroid creams can help wounds heal and prevent ulcers from spreading.