A common sign of lower leg venous disease is venous stasis dermatitis, or darkening of skin of the lower leg. The skin might appear red, brown, or irritated and may have the appearance of a rash. Skin changes in the lower legs may be a sign of vein disease even if varicose veins are not present. These skin changes are often a sign of advanced disease and should be evaluated by a vein expert.
Signs of Venous Stasis Dermatitis
- Skin discoloration at ankles
- Itchy, cracked, or dry skin.
- Swollen, red, or irritated areas
- In advanced stages, skin may become thickened and coarse.
Causes of skin changes/discoloration
Skin discoloration occurs when damaged veins leak red blood cells into the surrounding skin, which are then broken down by the body and cause staining of the surrounding tissues. As a result, the skin in these regions becomes discolored and itchy.
Treatment Options for Skin Changes
The treatment for skin changes/venous stasis dermatitis is to treat the underlying venous disease. Once the underlying venous disease has been treated, the leaky veins will be closed down and no longer allow red blood cells to leak into the surrounding tissues. Over time the discoloration will gradually fade and become less noticeable.