Pyoderma Gangrenosum


Pyoderma gangrenosum is an uncommon condition characterized by the development of large, painful ulcers on the skin, typically occurring on the legs. While the precise causes of pyoderma gangrenosum remain unknown, it is believed to stem from an immune system disorder. Those with specific underlying conditions like inflammatory bowel disease or arthritis are at a higher risk of developing pyoderma gangrenosum. These ulcers tend to manifest rapidly and typically respond positively to treatment, although scarring and recurring episodes are common.


Pyoderma gangrenosum often begins with a small, red bump on the skin, resembling a spider bite. Within a brief period, this bump can progress into a significant, painful open sore. While these ulcers typically appear on the legs, they can develop anywhere on the body, sometimes even around surgical sites. In cases where multiple ulcers are present, they may merge and form a larger, singular ulcer.

Seeking medical advice is crucial if you observe a painful wound on your skin that is rapidly expanding.


The exact cause of pyoderma gangrenosum remains unclear. Notably, it is neither infectious nor contagious. This condition is often associated with autoimmune disorders such as ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, and arthritis, with a possible genetic component. Individuals with pyoderma gangrenosum should be mindful that new skin injuries, such as cuts or puncture wounds, could potentially trigger the formation of additional ulcers.

Risk factors

Several factors can elevate your susceptibility to pyoderma gangrenosum, such as:

  • Patients age. Pyoderma gangrenosum can impact individuals of any age, although it tends to be more prevalent between the ages of 20 and 50.
  • Suffering from inflammatory bowel disease: Individuals diagnosed with ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease have a heightened susceptibility to pyoderma gangrenosum.
  • Experiencing arthritis. Individuals afflicted with rheumatoid arthritis face an elevated risk of developing pyoderma gangrenosum.
  • Living with a blood disorder. Individuals with acute myelogenous leukemia, myelodysplasia, or a myeloproliferative disorder are at a heightened risk of developing pyoderma gangrenosum.