Complications of SCD: Leg Ulcers

At a glance

Sickle cell disease (SCD) is a group of inherited blood disorders associated with severe pain and complications that can affect the entire body. This page provides information on SCD and leg ulcers.

Leg being wrapped with gauze


Poor circulation of blood in the leg can lead to painful leg ulcers, usually on the lower part of the leg. Leg ulcers happen more often in males than in females. They usually appear in people aged 10 to 50 years. A combination of factors can cause ulcers, including:

  • Trauma
  • Infection
  • Inflammation (swelling)
  • Poor blood flow in the smallest blood vessels of the legs


Common symptoms include:

  • Open sores
  • Pain in the affected area
  • Pus or discharge in the affected area
  • Swelling
  • An itchy or burning feeling