Arterial ulceration is due to atherosclerosis, that is hardening of the arteries which eventually narrow or blood the blood flow to the leg so that there is an inadequate supply of blood to the leg. Patients suffering from this condition often have a history of of high blood pressure, smoking and a raised cholesterol. They may already have heart disease and a family history of blocked blood vessels. They may also have a history of pain in their calf muscles when they walk. These ulcers are ALWAYS painful, especially at night. This pain can be so severe that patients with this condition are unable to sleep and often resort to sleeping upright in a chair to get some sleep. The condition can sometimes also be associated with venous disease. 

The clinical features of an arterial ulcer are
  1. Lack of palpable pulses in the foot and behind the knees
  2. Painful ulceration, particularly at night
  3. Small, punctate ulcers that are usually well circumscribed
  4. Cool or Cold skin
  5. Atrophic appearing skin (shiny, thin, dry)
  6. Delayed capillary return time
  7. Can occur anywhere, but is frequently seen on the dorsum (top) of the foot

The diagnosis is often obvious to a specialist vascular surgeon. It is a serious condition and if left untreated may lead to gangrene and ultimately to amputation of the leg. 

If you, or someone you know, are concerned about a leg ulcer or a condition that may lead to leg ulcers then please contact us for more information, or to book an appointment to see one our specialists.