A skin ulcer is an open sore. Drainage of blood or fluid is usually present and usually antibiotics are required for treatment of associated infection. There are many reasons the skin can ulcerate. Diabetes, nerve damage, varicose vein disease, arterial disease, infections, cancer, pressure, burns and injury are typical causes.
The most common location for an ulcer is on the foot or leg. There is associated pain with most ulcers.
The most common cause of a leg ulcer is varicose vein disease. A preceding skin rash or darkened area of skin usually occur many months or years before the ulcer forms. Treatment of the venous insufficiency with endovenous ablation is required in order to heal the ulcer.
Ulcers caused by poor circulation are called ischemic or arterial ulcers. Surgery to bypass the occluded artery is usually required.
Nerve damage is a third cause of leg or foot ulcers. Diabetes causes damage to nerves, leading to decreased sensation in the foot so that the patient injures the skin but does not realize it.