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The Link Between Rashes and Sores and Venous Insufficiency

Venous insufficiency is a condition that affects the veins in your legs and can lead to a range of symptoms and complications, including swelling, leg cramps, and varicose veins. Venous insufficiency can even cause skin issues, such as rashes and sores. 

Here, our team at Vascular Specialists Tinley Park, Illinois, and Munster, Indiana, explains the link between venous insufficiency and these skin problems and describes what you can do about it. 

What is venous insufficiency?

Venous insufficiency is a condition in which the peripheral veins in your legs struggle to return blood efficiently to your heart. When the one-way valves inside of your veins don’t work properly, it can result in blood pooling in your legs. This also causes increased pressure on your vein walls.

In short, it means that your veins aren’t functioning optimally. 

Skin issues associated with venous insufficiency

In addition to varicose veins and swelling (edema), you might also notice skin changes such as:

Rashes (dermatitis) 

Venous insufficiency can lead to a condition known as stasis dermatitis or venous dermatitis. This condition is characterized by red, itchy, and inflamed skin on your lower legs and ankles. In some cases, discoloration might be as dark as purple or gray. Severe dermatitis can also lead to hardened, rough, and bumpy skin.

Skin rashes are the result of the combination of blood pooling and increased pressure in your veins. The first sign of venous dermatitis is cayenne pepper spots, small areas of discoloration that form when too much vascular pressure causes capillaries to burst.

Venous ulcers

Venous insufficiency can also lead to venous ulcers. These are slow-to-heal open sores that typically form due to the combination of high pressure in your veins and poor circulation. Poor circulation means your skin doesn’t get enough oxygen and nutrients to heal. 

Why seeking medical attention is crucial

Ignoring rashes or sores associated with venous insufficiency can have serious consequences. Here's why it's essential to seek timely medical attention from our Vascular Specialists team.

Prompt care can help you prevent infections

Open sores and ulcers are highly susceptible to infection. Ulcers may need antibiotics or debridement to help clear the infection. Untreated infections can lead to more severe health complications, including gangrene (tissue death) and increased risk of amputation.

Medical attention can help alleviate discomfort 

Venous insufficiency-related skin issues can be painful and uncomfortable. As swelling intensifies, your skin may feel tight and appear shiny. Ulcers can cause pain and affect your mobility. Wound care, including compression therapy, medication, wound dressings, and infection control, can alleviate these symptoms.

Get the care you need 

Our team of board-certified fellowship-trained vascular surgeons can assess the severity of your venous insufficiency and recommend evidence-based treatments that are right for you. These may include compression therapy, medications, or minimally invasive procedures. We deliver university-level care whether you need medication, lifestyle adjustments, or vascular surgery.

Address venous insufficiency 

Treating dermatitis and ulcers is important, but to stop them from recurring, you need to also address the root cause of your issues: venous insufficiency. At Vascular Specialists, we offer many different options for addressing venous insufficiency, including sclerotherapy, phlebectomy, venous ablation, and VenaSeal™. 

Don’t ignore skin rashes and sores

Even if you can push past that itchy rash or a small sore, resist the temptation. Both can spiral quickly into bigger complications. As with many conditions, the sooner you seek help for venous dermatitis or venous ulcers, the better the chances of managing venous insufficiency effectively. 

Whether you need help with swelling, venous ulcers, venous dermatitis, or the underlying venous insufficiency, we’re just a call or click away. You can reach us by calling 815-824-4406, or you can use our online form to book your next appointment

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