If you develop a red, swollen, itchy area around your ankle or on your lower leg, you may have venous stasis dermatitis. Mark Matey, DPM, at Jacksonville Vein Specialists is experienced in the comprehensive treatment of vein disorders, which includes the skin conditions caused by problems like venous insufficiency. Early treatment of venous stasis dermatitis helps prevent complications like infections. At the first sign of a skin problem, schedule an appointment online or call one of the three offices, with two locations in Jacksonville and one in Palm Coast, Florida.

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What is venous stasis dermatitis?

Venous stasis dermatitis, also called stasis eczema, is an inflammatory skin condition that occurs in patients with chronic venous insufficiency. The condition affects the skin on your lower legs, where it’s often associated with edema, skin changes, varicose veins, and stasis ulcers.

Venous insufficiency is caused by dysfunction in valves in your leg veins. When the valves don’t work, blood flows backward, accumulates in the vein, and causes an increase in venous pressure. The high pressure leads to problems like broken blood vessels, inflammation, and stasis dermatitis.

What symptoms develop when I have venous stasis dermatitis?

Stasis dermatitis may affect one or both of your lower legs, where it typically begins around the ankle and then progresses to include your foot or calf. The first sign of stasis dermatitis is often an area of skin that turns reddish-brown and gets itchy.

Other early symptoms include:

  • Red skin
  • Wounds that ooze and crust
  • Scaly, dry, itchy skin
  • Legs that ache or feel heavy
  • Swelling that improves at night and worsens during the day

As venous stasis dermatitis worsens, the inflammation and swelling spread, and you’re at risk for developing venous ulcers and infections. The itching and scaling won’t improve on their own, and they worsen when stasis dermatitis goes untreated. Over time, the skin may become thickened and soft tissues in the area may develop scar-like changes.

How is venous stasis dermatitis treated?

Dr. Matey takes a two-pronged approach to treating venous stasis dermatitis: treating your skin and addressing the underlying venous insufficiency. Your skin may need diligent moisturizing, topical medications, or specialized dressings that help sores heal.

Treatment for venous insufficiency typically includes wearing compression stockings to reduce swelling and improve circulation. Additionally, you may need treatment for varicose veins or blood clots.

Dr. Matey has extensive experience treating varicose veins with radiofrequency ablation or sclerotherapy. Both procedures close the vein so blood flow is rerouted through healthy veins. If your venous insufficiency is caused by a blood clot, you may need blood thinners or medication to dissolve the clot.

At the first sign of skin redness and swelling of your lower leg, call Jacksonville Vein Specialists or book an appointment online.