What is a venous leg ulcer?

Venous leg ulcers (VLUs) are a common and costly problem worldwide. In 2010 an estimated 400,000 Australians were treated for VLU's.

VLUs are a common chronic wound problem managed in general practice and community settings. People with chronic venous insufficiency (CVI) are prone to developing VLUs on ankles and lower legs. These wounds occur spontaneously or after minor trauma.

Ulcers are often painful and heavily exudating and due to underlying disease mechanisms, healing is protracted and ulcer recurrence common.

The natural history of a VLU is a cycle of healing and recurrence which has a considerable impact on individual's health, quality of life and socioeconomic costs.

The burden of venous ulceration is expected to rise with an ageing population and the growing epidemics of diabetes and obesity – all risk factors for the development of venous leg ulcers.