What's in this article?
Also called gravitational dermatitis, venous eczema, and venous stasis dermatitis because it arises when there is a problem with the veins, generally in the lower legs.
Instead of the normal blood flow through the veins back to the heart, varicose veins or a problem with the valves of the veins allows for pressure to develop. This pressure results in fluid leaking out of the veins and into the skin, which then causes:
- Itching or pain
In severe cases, there can be:
- Open areas (cracking or larger ulcers)
Over time, recurrent dermatitis can result in more permanent changes in the skin including:
- Lipodermatosclerosis: scar-like changes in the fat and other soft tissues
- Atrophie blanche: white scars surrounded by tiny capillaries
- Lichenification: thickened skin due to chronic scratching or rubbing
Stasis dermatitis is not contagious.
if you’ve been diagnosed with venous insufficiency, it does not mean that you will get stasis dermatitis. Watching for signs and symptoms of stasis dermatitis is important though. Treatment and self-care can prevent the stasis dermatitis from becoming severe.
Swelling around the ankle is often the first sign of stasis dermatitis. The swelling tends to clear while you sleep and return during the day. Other early signs are discolored skin and varicose veins.
Symptoms of Statis Dermatitis
You may have symptoms of venous insufficiency including:
- Dull aching or heaviness in the leg
- Pain that gets worse when you stand
- Swelling in the leg
At first, the skin of the ankles and lower legs may look thin or tissue-like. You may slowly get brown stains on the skin.
The skin may become irritated or crack if you scratch it. It may also become red or swollen, crusted, or weepy.
Over time, some skin changes become permanent:
- Thickening and hardening of the skin on the legs and ankles (lipodermatosclerosis)
- A bumpy or cobblestone appearance of the skin
- Dark brown color
Skin sores (ulcers) may develop (called a venous ulcer or stasis ulcer). These most often form on the inside of the ankle.
Treatment on Statis Dermatitis ←read more
Who is at Risk of Statis Dermatitis?
Stasis dermatitis is most likely to develop in someone who has the following traits:
Age: Because poor circulation leads to stasis dermatitis, this type of dermatitis usually develops in people who are middle aged or older. In the United States, stasis dermatitis:
- Tends to develop in people 50 years of age and older
- Rarely occurs before 40 years of age
Gender: Women are slightly more likely to develop stasis dermatitis.
Medical history: Having one or more of the following increases your risk of developing stasis dermatitis:
- Venous insufficiency (your body has trouble returning blood from your legs to your heart, so some blood pools in your legs)
- Varicose veins (or blood relatives who have them)
- High blood pressure
- Previous blood clot, especially a blood clot in a leg like deep vein thrombosis
- Previous injury to the area
- Many pregnancies
- Surgery (to the area or removing a vein from the area)
- A heart condition, such as congestive heart failure (a weakened heart cannot pump blood effectively)
- Kidney failure
- Being very overweight
Lifestyle: Having any of the following also increase your risk of developing stasis dermatitis:
- Standing or sitting for long periods of time, such as at work
- Getting little or no exercise
- Excess body fat