Venous ulcers are often associated with venous insufficiency. They can develop when blood no longer moves in an efficient way up from the legs back to the heart. This causes the pooling of blood in the legs, which can consequently lead to the breakdown of tissues and the formation of venous ulcers. If you have venous ulcers and live in Houston, it’s time to see a vein specialist about starting an exercise program and exploring other treatment options.
Understanding the Benefits
Making healthy lifestyle choices is essential if you have venous ulceration. Exercise is particularly beneficial for patients with vascular diseases. This is because the blood in the legs relies on the contractions of the muscles to provide a pumping mechanism to help return the blood to the heart. Clinicians refer to this as the calf pump mechanism. Regular exercise is crucial for robust blood circulation, which in turn supports the healing of the venous ulcer and prevents the recurrence of venous ulceration.
Doing Foot and Ankle Exercises
When performed regularly, foot and ankle exercises can be effective for supporting the calf pump, particularly when patients have mobility impairments. While seated with your legs angled outwards, begin by warming up with ankle circling. Then, place a resistance band around the ball of your foot and hold both ends to provide moderate resistance. Starting with the toes pointing upward, press the toes against the band so that they point away from you. Repeat these plantar flexion exercises slowly for 15 repetitions on each foot. Gradually increase the number of repetitions and the resistance of the band. Dorsiflexion stretches are also helpful. You can perform these without the resistance band. While sitting in the same position that you used for the plantar flexion exercises, keep the heel firmly on the floor while bending the toes toward the ceiling. Count to 10 or 15 slowly while holding this stretch.
Taking Short Walks
Walking is an ideal form of aerobic exercise for patients with venous ulceration. The movements of walking engage the calf muscles and support upward blood flow. Begin your walking program gradually by strolling along at a slow to moderate pace for short distances. Each week, slightly increase the distance you walk. If you feel any pain, stop and take a rest.