Pain is a serious problem for patients with leg ulcers. Research mainly focuses on dressing-related pain; however, chronic background pain may be just as devastating. Our main objective was to describe the prevalence and characteristics of wound-related background pain in persons with chronic venous leg ulcers. We performed a systematic review to synthesise data from quantitative studies. Studies were eligible if they reported original baseline- or cross-sectional data on background pain in chronic venous leg ulcers. The initial search identified 2454 publications. We included 36 descriptive and effect studies. The pooled prevalence of wound-related background pain (from 10 studies) was 80% (95% CI 65-92%). The mean pain intensity score (from 27 studies) was 4 (0-10 numeric rating scale) (95% CI 3.4-4.5). Other pain characteristics could not be synthesised. We identified few sufficiently high-quality studies on prevalence and intensity of wound-related background pain in patients with chronic venous leg ulcers. Four of five persons experience mild to moderate pain. Because of poor quality of pain assessment and report, we believe that the available research does not provide a sufficiently nuanced understanding of background pain in this patient group.