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Managing leg ulcers in a primary care setting

Linda Nazarko looks at how nurses can identify and treat these common but painful wounds.

The number of people in the UK with wounds is increasing by 11% a year. The latest figures, 2017-2018, show that the 3.8 million people with wounds received NHS care. In that year, 89% of acute and 49% of chronic wounds had healed.

Community nurses cared for over 1 million people with leg ulcers however 664,020 of these leg ulcers will not have healed within a year.1,2,3
Chronic wounds are defined as wounds that fail to proceed through the normal phases of wound healing in an orderly and timely manner.4 A wound is generally considered chronic if it has failed to heal within 4-6 weeks. Most (around 70%) of leg ulcers occur because of venous insufficiency, arterial ulcers account for about 25% of leg ulcers and around 5% of leg ulcers have both venous and arterial components and are referred to as ulcers of mixed aetiology.5

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