Leg Ulcers Treatment

leg-ulcers-treatment-honey

Ulcers are breaks in the skin which fail to heal by themselves and may be accompanied by inflammation. Ulcers can occur anywhere on the body, however for this editorial I am specifically going to limit this to foot and leg ulcers.

A foot or leg ulcer is an open sore on the foot that looks like a red crater on skin. A leg ulcer can be shallow and only break through the surface of the skin or it can be very deep, extending through the full thickness of skin exposing tendons and bones. Leg ulcers are located mostly on the side of the foot or on the top or tip of the toe.

If leg ulcers are not treated quickly, they can get infected with serious consequences. Leg ulcers can develop into an abscess and spread through skin and into the bone. This can lead to gangrene or the death of the tissue.

Common causal factors for leg ulcers

Some of the common causes for leg ulcers include:

Circulatory problems – vascular diseases including stroke, heart attack and angina can result in poor circulation in the whole body. When the flow of blood to the feet is greatly reduced, the cells are deprived of oxygen and vital nutrients. This makes the skin more prone to injury and less able to heal itself.

Diabetes – a condition where individuals have high blood sugar levels. In diabetics, the cells either do not produce sufficient insulin or their response to insulin is greatly diminished resulting in higher sugar levels. Sugar destroys protein structures within our bodies including nerves and when accompanied by poor circulation, the result is often a greater risk for leg ulcers to occur.

Peripheral neuropathy – this is a condition where nerve damage occurs in the legs and feet. Since the nerves are damaged, there is no sensation of pain and hence when one wears tight fitting shoes that rub on skin, this goes undetected and increases the risk of leg and foot ulcers.

Abnormality to the structure of the foot – any alteration to the normal anatomy of the foot can result in leg ulcers. Arthritis, fractures and bone deformities are all contributory factors.

Treating Leg Ulcers

Conventional treatments for treating leg ulcers usually involve your GP cutting out the diseased tissue and any callused skin. A simple non-sticky dressing is used and needs to be changed once a week. In some cases, this dressing may have an antibiotic impregnated into the dressing in case the leg ulcer is infected. This form of treatment relies on keeping the wound clean but does not accelerate healing time. For people with good circulation, the healing of the ulcer can take approximately 12 weeks, whilst it may take longer for those with poorer circulation.

I tend to recommend the use of Manuka Honey for its multiple benefits in healing leg ulcers. Manuka Honey is a monofloral honey found in New Zealand where the Manuka tree is a native plant. There are multiple published scientific research papers showing the positive healing effect of medical grade Manuka Honey on leg ulcers, bedsores and hard to heal wounds. Collectively, the research has shown that Manuka Honey inhibits more than 80 species of bacteria, particularly those that are found in hard to heal wounds. It is important to realise that the research is based on medical grade Manuka Honey for topical use and not the jars of Manuka Honey that are widely available in stores. The topical product I recommend is Meloderm Manuka Honey UMF 15+ which has been sterilised with gamma irradiation, not heat, for use on wounds and leg ulcers. The UMF mark is the established industry quality mark to show that the Manuka Honey contains sufficient antibacterial levels. Use Meloderm Manuka Honey UMF 15+ for any wound that is hard to heal, for bedsores, burns and for leg ulcers.

This content is not intended to replace conventional medical treatment. Any suggestions made and all herbs listed are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease, condition or symptom. Personal directions and use should be provided by a clinical herbalist or other qualified healthcare practitioner.

Circulation, Shabir Daya | , , , , ,
  • Lesley Marshall

    It would be good to inform customers that this product is not smooth, but gritty.
    Disconcerting on first use.

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Hi Lesley, it may be that the Manuka honey has slightly crystallised in which case put the tube in warm water for ten minutes which should liquefy the contents. Shabir

  • Fay Barr

    My leg turned red and developed more blisters

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Hi Fay, are you referring to the use of Meloderm causing this? Shabir

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Hi Kristen, about 10-15% of people using manuka honey report some ‘stinging’ sensation which usually subsides within a few days. Should this continue then you may have to think of other treatments. Shabir

  • Ian Hudson

    Hi – the nurse at my local surgery is using honey to treat an ulcerated sore on the inside of my foot just above the ankle bone. She initially applied a granuflex dressing that helped bring to the surface and wash out a rather evil smelling fluid. She says the honey will now aid healing of the sore and although I am most positive there has been a burning sensation beneath the dressing for two days. It was at its most severe after initial application of the honey and seems to be subsiding with time. Nevertheless I am apprehensive and feel tempted to remove the dressing although my next visit to nurse is two days away. Should I grit my teeth and bear it out?

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Hi Ian, I think you need to ring the surgery and ask for their advice on whether you can part remove the dressing to see if the healing process has begun.
    Best wishes,
    Shabir

  • https://plus.google.com/102275340025900285792 Annette Lacey

    Hi I have a foot ulcer too, I was
    thinking of trying it but after ready these comments I’m now scared to try it, how did your dad go? Did he continue to use the honey? Also how is it now? I’ve had had my ulcer for 6 yrs and I’m thinking of drastic matters because I’m so over it, mine is from a avm, anyway I’d love to hear from u, thanks

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Hi Tracy, Meloderm Manuka Honey could be applied to the dressings prescribed to calm the inflammation and further support the healing process.
    Best wishes,
    Shabir

  • Tracy Burchell

    Many thanks for recommendation, I ordered some today.
    How much do you apply. Really hoping to help as it is getting larger.

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Hi Tracy, you can apply a thin layer to a gauze dressing or the dressing that has been prescribed, cover and then change daily.
    Best wishes,
    Shabir

  • Tracy Burchell

    Many thanks, I’ll let you know how it goes.
    Just not getting any info or help from gp, need to try something.

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    I am sure you will see improvements.
    Best wishes,
    Shabir

  • http://www.victoriahealth.com/ Victoria Health

    Hi Tracy, it is best to get this checked.
    Best wishes,
    Shabir