Leg ulcers are ulcers on the lower leg (originating on or above the malleolus and below the knee) that have not healed within two weeks. The presence of a lower limb wound should trigger immediate and necessary care — i.e. the patient should be screened for any red flag symptoms that require an immediate response and indicate that mild compression should not be applied.
If no red flags are present and the wound is on the lower limb (not the foot), immediate care should commence within 24 hours of the patient presenting with a wound. The clinician delivering immediate care should:
- Clean the wound and surrounding skin and apply emollient as required
- Record image(s) of wound using digital imaging
- Apply a simple low-adherent dressing with sufficient absorbency
- Discuss with the patient reasons for compression
- Apply ≤20mmHg of compression to the lower limb (e.g. Activa British Standard Class 1 hosiery).
If any of the red flags are identified, the clinician should treat the infection and immediately escalate to the relevant specialist. Input from other clinicians is required for people in the last few weeks of life.
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