Causes of Large Itchy Red Sores on Legs and How to Treat It?

A sore is an ulcer or an open wound. A sore forms when the skin breaks down and allows the entry of bacteria and air pollutants into the underlying tissues. There is always redness and swelling around an ulcer, sometimes the base of an ulcer itself is fiery red. An ulcer is usually seen on the legs, though it can occur in any part of the body.

It is more common on the bony prominences as on the hip bones or on the shin bones of the lower leg. Pressures ulcers, venous and arterial ulcers and neurological sores are often observed on the legs. A sore develops due to lack of blood supply to that particular area of the leg.

What are the Causes of Red Sores?

The main reason for red sores on leg is insufficient blood supply to the skin and tissues. It can occur due to variety of reasons.

Venous ulcers occur when the veins carrying the impure blood from lower legs towards the heart may not function to its optimum.

As a result there is stasis of blood in the lower legs. The blood then seeps into the surrounding tissue of the leg resulting in swelling around the ankles and in front of the leg. Gradually, the skin of the lower leg changes to dark brown or black in color. It becomes red and inflamed with scaly texture and itching. Ultimately the skin crack to form sores. Venous sores are irregular in shape usually on the front of the leg or around the ankle. The most common cause is varicose veins.

Arterial ulcer can result due to peripheral arterial disease. Due to deposition of cholesterol in the leg arteries, the blood circulation in the lower leg is impaired.  Poor oxygenated blood supply to the leg tissue can damage the tissues of the leg and some of them get destroyed (necrosed) forming an ulcer. These leg sores are usually round and painful. They appear on the toes or on the heels. Occasionally they appear bluish due to lack of oxygen. Arterial sores can be itchy and red.

Diabetic ulcer is a form of neuropathic ulcer. Due to neuropathy in diabetes, there is decreased sensation in the legs and toes. The leg becomes vulnerable to an injury. Generally neuropathic sores are observed on toes and heels. The sores appear red and itch sometimes.

Pressure sores are most common in elderly and those who are bed ridden. Constant pressure on a particular portion of the leg can cut the blood and oxygen supply to that area. They are usually on the bony prominences.

Treatment and Prevention for Itchy Red Sores on Legs

Primarily aim is to prevent the formation of red leg sores in legs in the first place.

To prevent leg sores that are itchy due to venous insufficiency, wear compression stocking. They help to push the blood back to the heart and prevent pooling of blood in the lower leg.

To prevent arterial sores, modify your diet. Eat less oily and fatty food. Instead eat food rich in vitamins, and fibers as it prevents atherosclerosis in the leg arteries. Stop smoking as it is one of the cause for peripheral artery disease.

Do not sit or stand in one position for long period to prevent pressure sores.

Avoid wearing tight fitting clothes.


  • If you are overweight try to reduce your weight.
  • Exercise regularly as it helps to improve leg circulation.
  • Eat garlic regularly when ulcer is formed. It improves your blood circulation.
  • Keep the wound dry and clean to heal fast.
  • Apply aloe vera gel on the ulcer. It allows healthy growth of tissue.
  • Apply a thin film of honey over the red itchy sore. Honey has an antibacterial and anti-inflammatory property.
  • You can also apply a paste of turmeric powder on the leg sore. Add a pinch of turmeric powder to coconut oil and apply the paste on the sore. After 8 to 10 hours wash the area and dry the wound. Follow this routine regularly till improvement is noted.
  • You can also apply diluted tea tree oil on the leg sore.

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