objective: to discuss the clinical management of venous ulcers in primary health care, based on the vision of users who live with this affliction. methods: this was a qualitative, exploratory, descriptive study, conducted with 25 adult users in treatment in the family health units. data were collected in the second semester of 2008, using a structured instrument with questions of sociodemographic characteristics, type of cleaning, coverings, use of compression therapy, medication and prescribed guidelines. results: cleaning products are used that aggravate the granulation tissue, such as coverings with various substances, including sunflower oil and antibiotic ointments; the majority of users do not use measures to control edema. conclusion: it is necessary to elaborate and adopt clinical protocols for the care of venous ulcers, as well as to provide ongoing education for health professionals.