Leg ulcers may come about as a result of an injury which becomes infected and leads to an ulcer. Elderly people can be more susceptible because of thinning skin and people with diabetes because of inhibited blood supply. About 80% of leg ulcers are due to venous disease
Western medical treatment involves cleansing the wound, anti-inflammatory treatment and the application and changing of dressings. Bandages are used to create compression and the type of dressing varies. Sometimes antibiotics are prescribed.
Chinese medicine looks at the whole body and not just the ulcer and involves a diagnosis based on traditional concepts.
Why is the spleen treated if there are leg ulcers?
Ulcers are located on the skin and in the flesh and according to Chinese medicne the spleen controls the flesh. If the spleen is not able to provide nourishment to the tissues then the ulcer struggles to heal. There is a well known combination of Chinese herbs huang qi and dang gui that could be also be used in the treatment of ulcers because their action supplements the spleen energy to build flesh as well as improve the quality of blood.
What about bad blood circulation, doesn’t that contribute to ulcers?
From a western medical perspective, most ulcers are caused by disturbed venous blood circulation. Chinese medicine has a medical term called blood stasis and literally means the blood gets stuck in its vessels instead of flowing soothly. Symptoms associated with blood stasis also include areas of fixed stabbing pain, visible predominant veins often with a purple discolouration. There may be also areas of dryness such as the heels. In the treatment of ulcers, acupuncture points such as “sea of blood” are selected because of their effect on improving blood circulation.
Can the pain associated with ulcers be addressed?
Chinese medicine says that pain is caused as a result of “stuck qi” or inhibited energy circulation. There are many acupuncture points in the body that have the traditional function of increasing energy circulation. One such point is taichong located between the first and second toes.
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