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Venous ulcer (leg)

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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Chronic venous leg ulceration is defined as an area of discontinuity of the epidermis, persisting for 4 weeks or more, caused by venous incompetence and associated venous hypertension (1)

  • it is the most common form of leg ulcer and accounts for 60 to 80% of lower limb ulceration. In the UK, prevalence is estimated to be between 0.1% and 0.3% and many people experience recurrent episodes of prolonged ulceration (1)
  • more common in women and older persons
  • the condition imposes a heavy burden on the healthcare finances

Venous ulcers may be:

  • primary - develop spontaneously as a result of venous hypertension
  • secondary - secondary to an identifiable underlying cause e.g. - venous thrombosis or trauma) (2)


1. Norman G, Westby MJ, Rithalia AD, et al. Dressings and topical agents for treating venous leg ulcers. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2018 Jun 15;6(6)

2. van Gent WB, Wilschut ED, Wittens C. Management of venous ulcer disease. BMJ. 2010;341:c6045.

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