Leg Discoloration

Common Questions About Leg Discoloration

Jul 14, 2022Arterial Disease, Vascular Disease

A condition known as venous stasis dermatitis or leg discoloration is an inflammation of the skin that occurs due to poor circulation. It can occur anywhere on your legs, but it’s prevalent near the calves, ankles, and feet because that’s where blood usually collects.

Over time, the gradual increase in pressure from blood pooling in your veins can cause damage to your capillaries, allowing the protein to leak into surrounding tissues. This buildup of cells, fluid, and proteins causes swelling and discoloration of your legs.

What are the symptoms of leg discoloration?

The symptoms of leg discoloration vary depending on the severity of your circulatory problems. Telltale signs include:

You might also experience symptoms of venous insufficiencies, such as:

As leg discoloration worsens, you might also notice the skin on your legs looks thin or paper-like. Your skin may harden or turn dark brown without prompt intervention and treatment.

Who is at risk of experiencing leg discoloration?

Leg discoloration affects people of all ages and races, but certain factors may increase your risk, including:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Living a sedentary lifestyle
  • Having varicose veins
  • Experiencing a lower leg injury
  • Having high blood pressure

You’re also more likely to experience leg discoloration if you have deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

How is leg discoloration diagnosed?

At Coastal Vascular Center, our team conducts a thorough diagnosis to determine the cause of discoloration in your leg. We review your medical history, ask about your symptoms and lifestyle, and perform a physical examination. We observe your feet, legs, and ankles during your exam for any abnormalities. In most cases, it’s possible to make a diagnosis based on visual observation alone.

A Doppler ultrasound may be needed if we suspect a more serious underlying health problem. This noninvasive test uses sound waves to check the blood flow in your legs and feet.

How is leg discoloration treated?

Coastal Vascular Center works with its patients to help them manage leg discoloration through at-home treatments, such as propping up your feet when sitting, wearing compression stockings, and wearing loose-fitting clothing.

We may recommend prescription lotions or skin ointments. Antibiotics skin products like neomycin can prevent allergic reactions and ease itching. Benzocaine and other numbing medications can provide relief from pain or irritation.

If leg discoloration negatively affects your quality of life, schedule an appointment at Coastal Vascular Center. Call the office or book a consultation online today.

Health-related information on CoastalVascular.net is for educational purposes only and, therefore not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or 911 immediately.