Good nursing care and laughter called important for treating hard-to-heal leg ulcers

Share this content:
Advanced technological approaches to treating venous leg ulcers are no match for good quality nursing care and a few good jokes, new research suggests.

Venous leg ulcers typically show in people with varicose veins or mobility problems, especially among older individuals. Concentrating on "hard-to-heal" ulcers that had been present for at least six months, researchers at the University of Leeds in Britain evaluated a number of different treatment methods. They discovered that ultrasound technology was ineffective at speeding their healing, for example.

The best way to treat these difficult ulcers, according to Professor Andrea Nelson of the University of Leeds School of Healthcare, is to stimulate blood flow with compression bandages and support stockings, as well as improving the patient's diet and exercise routine. 

"Believe it or not," adds Nelson, "having a really hearty chuckle can help, too. This is because laughing gets the diaphragm moving and this plays a vital part in moving blood around the body."

The report appeared in the Tuesday online version of the British Medical Journal.