Venous Leg Ulcers
a guide for patients and care givers

21-minute video to help patients and staff learn the causes
of venous leg ulcers and important techniques to help heal them.

21-minute eduational video

$99 DVD
English or Spanish

Millions of men and women suffer with venous leg ulcers. These are chronic wounds that heal slowly and recur easily. Fortunately, healing rates can be high and recurrence rates low, especially if patients understand and participate in their daily self-care plan. In this award-winning video, colorful graphics, interesting diagnostic tests and live demonstrations help patients and staff understand the cause and treatment of venous leg ulcers. We follow one individual as he learns how to care for his wound, including daily leg compression, leg elevation and calf pump exercise. You’ll use this unique video in hospital wound clinics, staff education, dermatology, vascular surgery, PT, home health and long-term care. Each DVD purchase includes a 6-page patient handout.

Watch brief excerpts from this video ...

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Review & comment about the video, "Venous Leg Ulcers" ...

An excellent program.  I use it for physical therapy staff training and patient education.  
Diane Kinder, PT CWS.  Little Company of Mary Hospital; Torrance, CA.  (January, 2004)

Endorsed by Professor Christine Moffatt, PhD MA RGN DNProfessor of Nursing, Thames Valley University, London, and a Director of the Centre for Research and Implementation of Clinical Practice.

FROM A LEG ULCER PATIENT:  I have had ulcers on my legs for the past 15 years.  The doctor gave me a video put out by Family Health Media.  I didn't know much about leg ulcers, only that they were very painful and are miserable to heal.   This video is so wonderful and has been so helpful and informative.  I have never seen anything like it.  I didn't realize I will have to deal with them the rest of my life.  I didn't know why compression is so important in the bandages or socks, why elevating the leg and walking are also important.  The video explains perfectly about the veins and arteries and how the ulcer develops.  I don't know how to thank you enough for putting this video together.  I wish that everyone who has this problem could see it
Carolyn A., Lakewood, Colorado. 

This video has a comprehensive explanation of the prevention and health care issues surrounding venous leg ulcers. I feel it would be an excellent video to consolidate the training addressing compression bandaging as well as hosiery.   Sister Kate Bennett, District Nursing Sister, Eastbourne, United Kingdom. 

The positive and empowering message at the core of this programme makes it a particularly attractive and useful video.  The nature of chronic venous insufficiency is explained beautifully.   Costing US$99.00 and available in a variety of formats (PAL/VHS) it represents excellent value for the money.  Review excerpt, Journal of Advanced Nursing, November 2000. 

I am impressed with the video, Venous Leg Ulcers.  It is a useful educational tool for dermatologists and other health care professionals treating patients with venous leg ulcers.  Joseph L. Jorizzo, MD, Department of Dermatology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine / Winston-Salem,  NC  

Venous Leg Ulcers is a very well-done video for patient education.  You folks have done a terrific job!    Paula A. Heggerick, RVT RDMS, President, Society of Vascular Technology; Technical Director, Vascular Lab/ Department of Surgery / New England Medical Center / Boston, MA

Thank you (Family Health Media) for providing us clinicians with professional, easy-to-understand patient teaching videos. I am very impressed with Venous Leg Ulcers - a guide for patients and caregivers. The graphics are especially outstanding.  What impresses me most about this video is the use of live case scenarios to present the cause and treatment of venous leg ulcers. I plan to show the video in my outpatient clinic area to patients who are awaiting treatment for venous stasis ulcers. I also plan to use it in our inpatient area and for teaching staff. The treatment options explained in this video are extremely practical. I have already incorporated these suggestions in my patient teaching. Thank you for your outstanding products.  Susan F. Dietl, RN CWOCN, Wound Ostomy Continence Nurse / Medford, OR

… this video will be of help to patients and caregivers with venous stasis ulceration.  It is presented in simple terms that most patients can understand.  It answers many questions patients frequently ask.  It will save health care personnel time and, I believe, improve patient compliance.   Review excerpt, Wound Repair & Regeneration; Jan 2001.  (Official publication of Australian Wound Management Association, European Tissue Repair Society, Japanese Society for Wound Healing, The Wound Healing Society) 

FROM A LEG ULCER PATIENTI suffered from 2 episodes of serious leg ulcers in the past.  (After watching this video) I now see the importance of proper care.  Barbara W., Lynnfield, MA

The Venous Leg Ulcer video would benefit carers and patients suffering with these types of wounds.  Lynfa M Edwards, Senior Lecturer/Practitioner; Centre for Research and Implementation of Clinical Practice; Wolfsan Institute of Health Sciences; Thames Valley University; London, United Kingdom. 

As a nurse educator, I would recommend Venous Leg Ulcers as a part of a comprehensive patient and family education program.  The tone of the video is optimistic, focusing on simple explanations and realistic life style changes that would enhance venous blood flow.  Simple terms and excellent diagrams are used to clearly describe what venous leg ulcers are and causative factors.  Insight into realistic patient concerns, such as slow healing, are considered through patient documentaries.   Review excerpt, Orthopaedic Nursing.  September/October 2000 – Vol. 19, No. 5.

I am impressed with the video Venous Leg Ulcers.   The illustrations comparing normal blood flow to venous stasis flow easily explain the disease process to any educational level. The video follows standards of care for treating venous ulcers so that any care giver would feel comfortable with the information.   We will be providing this video to our in-house patients via the hospital education channel and to the PT and diabetes education departments.  Jackie Brown, RN / Wound Care Consultant, Diabetes Educator; The Fort Hamilton Hospital / Fort Hamilton, Ohio

This video helps to fill a void in patient education materials about wounds and their care.  It has some unique features, such as showing the physiologic effect of the calf muscle pump, normal and diseased valves in a Doppler study, how a diseased valve looks and the effect of compression altering the shape of the vein.  These action images are generally not available or do not have the same impact in print form.  It mentions that there are several types of compression dressings; it does not endorse one particular product.  The patient is shown as active participant.  The health care professionals shown are not designated as nurse, physician assistant or physician, so the video is appropriate to many clinical settings.  In summary, this video is a nice patient teaching program that will augment a professional’s resources about venous disease.  It provides an excellent foundation for patient learning.  It should be considered for purchase ($99) by professionals who provide chronic venous insufficiency preventive care and venous ulcer care.    Review excerpts, The Journal of Wound, Ostomy and Continence Nursing;  March 2001 (Vol. 28, No. 2).

Your videos are excellent. I would definitely recommend them to educators in clinics and home health care settings. Your reasonable prices are a great incentive.
Cheryl Oleson, RNC, Staff Development;  Perham Memorial Hospital & Home / Perham, MN

Recently I viewed the video, Venous Leg Ulcers. It is excellent. The pictures are outstanding. It is a must for staff development.    Ruth Shockley, RN, Staff Development; Berlin Nursing and Rehab Center / Berlin, MD.

Venous Leg Ulcers is an excellent tape for patient and family education.    Sharon Calandrino, Physical Therapy Assistant;  University of Louisville Burn Unit / Rehab Dept. / Louisville, Kentucky. 

The first step in helping patients cope with chronic venous insufficiency is education, and this 21-minute video is an excellent beginning.   Information about the etiology and treatment of venous hypertension is presented in both a positive and non-threatening manner.  While most educational videos dealing with this subject focus on wound care, few place emphasis on the importance of behavior modification in achieving good clinical outcomes. The message this video conveys to the viewer not only makes it a valuable teaching tool for patients and family members, but also for clinical staff.  Review excerpt, Dermatology Nursing, Vol. 12 No. 5; 2000

This video provides comprehensive patient education (about venous leg ulcers).  Compliance with preventive treatment is emphasized.  as reviewed in Home Health Care Management & Practice, June 2000

This video is excellent - the best I've seen on venous disorders.
Lynda Beard / Legworks.   Moline, IL   (January, 2003)

This is an essential educational video for health-care professionals and students as it provides them with crucial health promotional information to share with clients and colleagues.  The information is presented in a clear and logically progressive format ... and is iterated in a variety of modes. The progression of a ‘typical’ case scenario throughout the video serves to both reinforce and familiarize the information. Many of the questions often voiced about venous leg ulcers and some of the misconceptions surrounding the origin of ulcers are considered.  The emphasis on client empowerment and responsibility represents an important shift of focus away from direct medical intervention per se. It also supports research findings that emphasize the significant influence client education has on the healing and prevention of recurrence of venous leg ulceration. Obviously, medical/nursing intervention is discussed and the importance of comprehensive assessment and appropriate compression therapy is stressed. The need to provide medical/nursing support to the client is also inferred. This information, however, is well balanced within the context of client responsibilities and the importance of daily self-care measures.   Review excerpts, Australian Journal of Rural Health,  August 2000

Award-winner!  The 2000 Videographer Awards, Award of Distinction; Medical / Patient Education. 

   aegis3.jpg (13049 bytes)    Training / Education Category

Suggested uses
Women and men with venous leg ulcers or chronic venous insufficiency.  Family members.  Staff education and inservice.  Hospital wound clinics.  Dermatology. Vascular surgery. Vascular nurses.   Enterostomal therapy nurses. Physical therapy. Schools of nursing.  Home health.   Long term care settings.  Hospital discharge planning.  In-house TV channel.  Family practice settings.  Podiatry.  Family caregivers.
Program length
21 minutes
$99 (extra copies, $59 each)
Print materials
Study Guide and illustrated 6-page viewer handout
[Included free with purchase]
Media formats available
English, Spanish
Available for free preview?
Yes (health care & medical ndustry professionals only)
Release date


Family Health Media gratefully acknowledges the following experts for their assistance in developing this program.

Ann Donovan, MSN CETN
University of Virginia Health Sciences Center; Charlottesville, VA

JoAnn Maklebust, MSN RN CS NP
Detroit Medical Center, Harper Hospital; Detroit, MI

David J. Margolis, MD
Dept. of Dermatology, University of Pennsylvania; Philadelphia, PA

Catherine Ratliff, RN PhD CWOCN
University of Virginia Health Sciences Center; Charlottesville, VA

Mary Sieggreen, MSN RN CS NP CVN
Detroit Medical Center, Harper Hospital; Detroit, MI

and ... 

Steven Aiken, MD
Family Practice Department, Henry Ford Hospital; Detroit, MI

Karen Lou Kennedy, RN CS FNP
Consultant for Skin & Wound Care; Tucson, AZ

Liza G. Ovington, PhD CWS
Ovington & Associates, Inc. - Wound Management Consulting & Education: Dania, FL

Bonnie Sparks-DeFriese, PT CWS
Wound Management Institute; Phoenix, AZ


Content Outline
Venous Leg Ulcers
21 minute educational videotape

This content outline is provided for informational purposes only.  Always consult a qualified health care professional before undergoing any medical treatment.

All images © Family Health Media Duplication prohibited.

As the program opens we meet John, a high school teacher who has a venous leg ulcer.   John had suffered for years with his leg ulcer, but it is finally healing now because he has learned from his health care professional how to take care of it.  We see John wearing a special compression bandage, called an Unna boot.  We see him elevating his legs.  And we see him walking.   John has learned from his health care professional that these simple techniques must be done every day so that his leg ulcer will keep getting better and not come back again.     

John has a venous leg ulcer.

Next, the hostess for the program shows us several examples of actual venous leg ulcers.  She explains that they usually occur on the inside of the lower leg, often near the ankle.  Venous leg ulcers happen to millions of men and women of all ages from all walks of life. We learn that as many as one in four people may have a blood flow problem in their lower legs and could benefit from this information, too.   We see pictures of arterial ulcers and diabetic foot ulcers and learn that these types of wounds are treated differently and are not covered in this program. 

Venous leg ulcers usually appear on the inside of the lower leg.

Now we learn about the difficult job the heart has in pumping blood up from the lower legs.   Without help, high pressure can build up inside the leg veins.    Animated graphics show how the calf pump helps to push blood up and out of the leg to keep pressure at a safe level. 

The calf pump helps to push blood out of the leg.

Next we look inside the leg vein to observe how a one-way valve prevents blood from going the wrong direction.  We learn that constant high pressure pushing out against the delicate vein walls can stretch the veins out of shape.  When that happens the one-way valves do not close well, so blood can go backwards and high pressure can build up.  It's called chronic venous insufficiency, or chronic ambulatory venous hypertension. 


A one-way valve inside a leg vein.

We learn that high pressure and damaged veins and valves can happen for many reasons.   Often it's a blood clot, called deep vein thrombosis, that causes the damage to the valves and veins.  People who have to stand or sit a lot every day in their job are at higher risk..  Pregnancy can be a factor, too. 

Pregnancy is a risk factor for damaged leg veins.

The hostess explains that many times, the first sign of high venous pressure in the legs is persistent swelling near the ankles, usually at the end of the day.  This is called edema.  Varicose veins are a visible sign of increased pressure and damaged veins. Standing may cause a dull aching pain that goes away when the legs are raised. 

Varicose veins are a visible sign of increased pressure inside the leg veins.

Next we see how a venous leg ulcer can get started.  With the veins stretched thin from chronic high pressure, we see that blood and fluid can escape through the vein out into the tissue.  We watch as the escaped blood turns the skin a brownish color, and makes the leg swell with edema. The hostess explains that the skin is weak and vulnerable now, and just a small bump or scrape could snowball into a serious venous leg ulcer. 

This vein wall has been stretched thin by chronic high pressure.

We return to John, the high school teacher from the opening of the program.  We flash back in time to see John before he had learned how to take care of his leg ulcer.  We learn that John had suffered with the leg ulcer for years.  He had tried lots of home remedies to make it get better.  Sometimes the wound would improve, but it always came back.  John was very unhappy. 

John hated his leg ulcer. He had struggle with it for years, but none of the home remedies he tried seemed to get rid of it.

Finally, we observe John as he gets some good news from his health care professional.   He learns that under a health care professional’s guidance, daily self-care by the patient can help heal most venous leg ulcers and keep many from coming back.  Often this includes daily leg compression, elevation of the leg above the heart and some simple calf pump exercises.

John's health care professional explained that chronic high pressure in John's leg veins had damaged the veins and valves, causing permanent damage.

We learn that some patients receive a special diagnostic test called "duplex ultrasound."  This painless procedure can provide valuable information about the extent and location of damage. 

Duplex ultrasound test being conducted.

We hear and see the results of actual duplex ultrasound tests performed on healthy leg veins and damaged leg veins. 

Color duplex ultrasound.

Now, we observe John's health care professional as he cleans, inspects and measures John's wound. 

This venous leg ulcer is being cleaned and examined.

Next, John's health care professional applies a layered compression bandage to the wound, starting with a special dressing placed directly against the wound.   This is followed by a paste bandage which is wrapped around the leg from the foot up to the calf.  Finally, he wraps on a compression bandage.  We learn that this type of bandage is very common, but that there are other types of compression bandages from which the health care professional can choose.

This compression bandage helps blood flow up and out of the legs.

At this point the program turns to a description of three self-care activities that are often recommend by health care professionals for their patients with venous leg ulcers or chronic venous insufficiency.    We learn that as many as one in four adults may have a blood flow problem in their legs, the early warning signs of which may be pain, swelling or varicose veins.  The hostess reminds viewers that anyone with symptoms like these should see a doctor.  Such individuals, under the supervision of their health care professional, also may benefit from the self care activities. 

This woman has the early warning signs of high pressure in her leg veins.

The first activity is daily leg compression.  We observe individuals using layered compression bandages and compression stockings.  We learn that daily leg compression, whether it's from bandages, mechanical pumps or doctor-approved stockings, is essential for wound healing and the prevention of recurrences.   Graphics demonstrate the positive effect compression has upon damaged leg veins. 

This woman is donning doctor-approved compression stockings.

The second daily activity is walking and other simple calf pump exercises.  We are reminded that the calf pump helps push blood out of the legs.  This helps to keep pressure in the leg veins at a safer level.  We observe individuals who are unable to take walks as they demonstrate simple calf pump exercises while seated. 

John walks to exercise his calf pump.

The third daily activity is elevating the legs above the heart.  The hostess performs a simple demonstration to show how elevation helps to drain blood out of veins.  

John was instructed to elevate his legs for twenty minutes several times each day.

Finally, the hostess lists six health care practices to help keep  legs in good condition, such as wearing comfortable, low-cut shoes and washing legs in mild soap and lukewarm water. 

Dry feet carefully, especially between the toes.

The program concludes with a reminder from the hostess that anyone who has a leg ulcer or anyone who thinks they might have a blood flow problem in their legs should talk to a health care professional to find the cause and best treatment.

hostess.jpg (15047 bytes)

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