Improving venous leg ulcer outcomes

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When healthcare professionals provide clear, tailored exercise and education to adults with venous leg ulcers, the patients are more likely to engage in regular exercise — which can improve outcomes. 

Those are the findings from a series of interviews with 10 patients conducted by researchers at Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia. 

Previous research found that exercise is particularly important for leg ulcer patients because it improves blood flow back to the heart, reducing the risk of complications and secondary conditions, said lead author Jane O'Brien, RN, a doctoral student in QUT's School of Nursing. Yet despite having the motivation for and interest in exercise, venous leg ulcer patients face obstacles, including misinformation on the importance of getting active, fear of harm and pain. 

“Most adults with venous leg ulcers who understand that exercise will help improve blood flow and who are shown specific calf muscle exercises that can improve their chances of healing their chronic wounds are happy to get active,” O'Brien said. 

The study appears in the October issue of Journal of Wound Care