Chronic leg ulcer is a disease of long duration, occurring predominantly in elderly people. Traditionally, little interest has been devoted to the study of the impact of this disease on life quality. In the present study the Nottingham Health Profile (NHP) was used to assess disease influence on six areas of daily life, namely: pain, physical mobility, sleep, energy, emotional reactions and social isolation. Standard questionnaires were distributed to patients with chronic leg ulcers of venous, arterial or mixed venous-arterial origin, treated at the Department of Dermatology. Complete data were obtained from 125 patients. The disease had a marked impact on the patient's subjectively perceived health. Males exhibited remarkably elevated scores, compared to the normative scores for men, especially in the areas of pain, emotional reactions, social isolation and physical restrictions. For women the impact of leg ulcer disease, although obvious, seems much less marked than for males. An exceptionally long median duration of leg ulcer disease was found among shop-assistants. It is possible that preventive measures should be undertaken in this group. The duration of leg ulcer disease did not seem to influence the quality of life. Patients with long disease duration in fact reported fewer problems than those with shorter duration, suggesting adaptive mechanisms. This study indicates that male leg ulcer patients should be more closely observed for symptoms of emotional stress, pain, social isolation and impaired physical mobility. More efforts should be made to alleviate pain. Above all this study underlines the importance of considering not only the ulcer but the whole patient.