Q. I have had a couple of episodes with sores on my ankles that take forever to heal. My doctors say they are venous stasis ulcers and that the only prevention is to walk.
But when I come down with one, they tell me to stay off my feet and keep the affected foot elevated and wrapped in compression bandages that are so tight they are uncomfortable. They are also hard to re-wrap.
I’d really like to know how to keep from having another sore. The last one put me out of action for most of the year. Is there any treatment that can help?
A. We do not know how to prevent venous ulcers. These are believed to form when circulation in the lower legs is not adequate to maintain the integrity of the skin. This seems to be due to malfunctioning valves in the veins.
The usual treatment, as you discovered, is compression. Research published in the British Journal of Dermatology (online Feb. 7, 2014) showed that the cholesterol-lowering drug simvastatin (Zocor, 40 mg/day) can significantly speed healing compared to placebo.
Both simvastatin and placebo groups continued with compression and regular wound cleansing. We hope you do not have a recurrence, but if you do, ask your doctor to review this article and consider simvastatin.