15 doctors weighed in:
What are differences between arterial and venous ulcers?
15 doctors weighed in

Dr. John Landi
Phlebology
3 doctors agree
In brief: Physical exam.
There are many differences between arterial and venous foot ulcers but there is also overlap.
The standard answer is that an arterial ulcer usually occurs on the toes which would be the areas most distal to the heart and, thus, receiving the least arterial blood while medial/lateral ankle ulcers are usually venous. Physical exam should be the keyv to distinguish the underlying cause of the ulcer.

In brief: Physical exam.
There are many differences between arterial and venous foot ulcers but there is also overlap.
The standard answer is that an arterial ulcer usually occurs on the toes which would be the areas most distal to the heart and, thus, receiving the least arterial blood while medial/lateral ankle ulcers are usually venous. Physical exam should be the keyv to distinguish the underlying cause of the ulcer.
Dr. John Landi
Dr. John Landi
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1 comment
Dr. Trent Proffitt
Agreed. About 25% are mixed art/venous ulcers as well
Dr. Scott Bolhack
Wound care
3 doctors agree
In brief: Ulcer artery vs vein
Venous ulcers are due to high blood pressure of the veins resulting in the leakage of fluid into the tissues of the legs.
Compression of the lower extremities and surgery on the veins can correct this. Ischemic ulcers are due to problems with arteries. There are larger arteries and small microscopic ones and either or both can have blockages. They usually can be discerned from each other.

In brief: Ulcer artery vs vein
Venous ulcers are due to high blood pressure of the veins resulting in the leakage of fluid into the tissues of the legs.
Compression of the lower extremities and surgery on the veins can correct this. Ischemic ulcers are due to problems with arteries. There are larger arteries and small microscopic ones and either or both can have blockages. They usually can be discerned from each other.
Dr. Scott Bolhack
Dr. Scott Bolhack
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Dr. Robert Dorsey
Wound care
2 doctors agree
In brief: One is
Caused by arterial dz generally affecting the foot.
The other is due to venous dz affecting the ankle area.

In brief: One is
Caused by arterial dz generally affecting the foot.
The other is due to venous dz affecting the ankle area.
Dr. Robert Dorsey
Dr. Robert Dorsey
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Dr. J. Lawrence Dohan
Dermatology
2 doctors agree
In brief: Location
Venous stasis ulcers occur on the medial (inside side) of ankle with a long history of swollen legs.
They may be itchy or painful or both. Often there is a history of a blood clot (phlebitis) or that a vein was removed for coronary bypass surgery. An arterial ulcer due to poor blood supply is found on another part of the foot or leg on a person with cold leg which is purple when down & pale when r.

In brief: Location
Venous stasis ulcers occur on the medial (inside side) of ankle with a long history of swollen legs.
They may be itchy or painful or both. Often there is a history of a blood clot (phlebitis) or that a vein was removed for coronary bypass surgery. An arterial ulcer due to poor blood supply is found on another part of the foot or leg on a person with cold leg which is purple when down & pale when r.
Dr. J. Lawrence Dohan
Dr. J. Lawrence Dohan
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Dr. Ted King
Phlebology
1 doctor agrees
In brief: Arterial vs. venous
Venous ulcers are usually on the inside or outside of the ankle, have irregular edges, are often painless (although they can also hurt too), and are associated with varicose veins in the legs and other skin changes besides the ulcer. Compression helps.
Arterial ulcers generally always hurt. They are often smaller and very regular round punched out looking borders. They are seen with pad.

In brief: Arterial vs. venous
Venous ulcers are usually on the inside or outside of the ankle, have irregular edges, are often painless (although they can also hurt too), and are associated with varicose veins in the legs and other skin changes besides the ulcer. Compression helps.
Arterial ulcers generally always hurt. They are often smaller and very regular round punched out looking borders. They are seen with pad.
Dr. Ted King
Dr. Ted King
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Dr. Douglas Joyce
Phlebology
In brief: In vs. out flow
Venous ulcers result from valve dysfunction in the venous system. This causes the pressure in the veins just under the skin to become too high resulting in swelling of the veins.
These veins enlarge and become varicose, leak water causing leg swelling, leak blood resulting in skin discoloration and possibly ulcers. Arterial ulcers result from artery blockages stopping inflow of blood.

In brief: In vs. out flow
Venous ulcers result from valve dysfunction in the venous system. This causes the pressure in the veins just under the skin to become too high resulting in swelling of the veins.
These veins enlarge and become varicose, leak water causing leg swelling, leak blood resulting in skin discoloration and possibly ulcers. Arterial ulcers result from artery blockages stopping inflow of blood.
Dr. Douglas Joyce
Dr. Douglas Joyce
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1 comment
Dr. Anita Prakash
Percuaneous treatment options exist for both nowadays.
Dr. Morris Westfried
Dermatology
In brief: Pain,
Both ulcers are caused by poor circulation.
In venous ulcers the veins are incompetent or varicose and the blood is stagnant causing swelling and a stretching and thinning of the skin which breaks down. Arterial ulcers mean inadequate circulation and could result in loss of a limb. A proper diagnosis and treatment is essential with vascular surgeon.

In brief: Pain,
Both ulcers are caused by poor circulation.
In venous ulcers the veins are incompetent or varicose and the blood is stagnant causing swelling and a stretching and thinning of the skin which breaks down. Arterial ulcers mean inadequate circulation and could result in loss of a limb. A proper diagnosis and treatment is essential with vascular surgeon.
Dr. Morris Westfried
Dr. Morris Westfried
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