Discolored Skin/Rash

Skin Changes

Noticeable alterations in lower leg skin may indicate vein diseases, such as superficial and deep vein insufficiency (resulting from dilated superficial veins with broken valves) or arterial occlusive disease (caused by narrow arteries disrupting blood flow). However, other underlying conditions could be contributing factors.

Skin changes may include:

Darkening of the skin, typically to a reddish-brown, dark-brown or rust color.

    • Darkening of the skin, typically to a reddish-brown, dark-brown or rust color.
    • Rashes, manifesting as tiny, usually itchy bumps around the lower calf or ankle.
    • Cellulitis or similar skin infections.
    • Painful, hard, dark red, or brown plaques around the lower calf and/or ankle.
    • Venous ulcers around the inner or outer ankle.
    • Thin, easily torn skin.
    • Loss of hair on lower legs and feet (also a sign of arterial disease).
    • These changes may also be accompanied by aches and pains and/or heavy, tired legs.

Inflammatory changes resulting from chronic venous insufficiency can manifest as skin rashes, characterized by intense itching and redness. When linked to vein disease, this condition is commonly identified as venous eczema or venous stasis dermatitis. Primarily affecting the lower legs, it presents as clusters of tiny red bumps that may merge into diffuse red rashes covering the lower legs and ankles. Often mistaken for skin infections like cellulitis, this rash is notably itchy.

Chronic venous insufficiency is also associated with skin darkening, termed hyperpigmentation. Prolonged inflammation damages capillaries, leading to fluid and red blood cells leakage, causing swelling and skin discoloration. Hemoglobin, the iron-based pigment in red blood cells, contributes to the brownish, rust-colored discoloration observed in a gaiter distribution from the ankle up the lower leg.

These skin changes related to venous insufficiency are frequently misdiagnosed as dermatological issues, hindering the identification of the true underlying cause. Without proper treatment for vein disease, there's a risk of worsening skin changes, potentially progressing to stasis ulcers or open wounds on the skin.

Contact our office at 615.716.VEIN to schedule an appointment today

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