Mark is 47 and works as a software tester for a healthcare organisation in Poole. His leg problems started when a minor injury turned into a wound that just wouldn’t heal:
“I was getting out of my car one day and went to shut the car door when I accidentally slammed the edge of the door into my leg. The bottom of the door basically went into my left shin. I shouted a few expletives, as you can imagine, but I just put a plaster on the cut and thought nothing more of it. After a few weeks, I noticed that the cut still wasn’t healing and was actually starting to look a lot worse.”
Early stages of a venous leg ulcer
Mark carried on attempting to treat the wound at home himself for another six weeks before realising he needed to seek medical help:
“I ended up going to the doctors. She gave me some creams and said that if it wasn’t getting any better, I should go to see somebody at the leg clinic, which is not far down the road from where I live. I used the creams but they just weren’t doing anything so I took myself down to the leg clinic. They took one look at my leg and said ‘right; we need to get you into treatment’”
Mark began weekly dressing and compression therapy at the leg clinic to try and heal what had now become a chronic leg ulcer:
“I’d go to the clinic before work every Thursday. They’d wash my leg and put various dressings on it and stockings to help promote blood flow. I remember looking down at the old dressing when they changed it and it would just be covered in brown, horrible gunk. At its worst, the wound was basically a crater on my leg. I could put the tip off my finger in it, it was that deep. I couldn’t believe that a silly little accident with a car door months earlier had escalated into to this.”
How a venous leg ulcer can impact on your quality of life
The ulcer was also having an impact on Mark’s day-to-day life:
“I couldn’t do the things that I wanted to do. I went away with my girlfriend and some of our friends to Center Parcs. Normally I’d go to the spa or go swimming but I couldn’t do any of that so I’d just end up sitting in the coffee shop while they were out doing stuff. It wasn’t much fun.”
After many months of weekly dressings and compression at the Leg Club, Mark’s ulcer began to heal. Now, 15 months on from the original injury, his leg is largely healed, with just a small red mark where the ulcer was. Mark is still vigilant about his leg health and urges anyone with a non-healing leg wound to seek professional medical treatment sooner rather than later:
“I would say just go to the doctors and get it checked out. Don’t leave it too long. If after a week or two, it’s still not looking right or looking worse go to your GP. I left it too long and that’s probably why it got as bad as it did.”
Need to know more?
Find out more about leg ulcers including what to look out for
NHS Choices the official NHS website, which provides vital information and support about leg and foot signs and other symptoms.
Call 111 - for non-emergency medical advice
Find out more on the NHS Choices website
The Lindsay Leg Club Foundation Promoting and supporting community based treatment, health promotion, education and ongoing care for people who are experiencing leg-related problems - including leg ulcers and other wound care issues.
Find out more on the Lindsay Leg Club Foundation website
The Circulation Foundation The Circulation Foundation is the UK’s only dedicated vascular charity. They fund and promote research into the causes, treatment and prevention of vascular disease.
020 7205 7151
Find out more on The Circulation Foundation website
Society of Tissue Viability (The Society of Tissue Viability) aims to provide expertise in wound management to all healthcare professionals.
Mind Mind is the UK’s leading mental health charity. They're there to make sure no one has to face a mental health problem alone you can call or text for free anytime.
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