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Why Does My Ankle Suddenly Look Darker?

Why Does My Ankle Suddenly Look Darker?

If the skin on your ankles starts to change color, it can be concerning. There are many reasons why your skin may undergo hyperpigmentation.

Ankle discoloration is often a sign of venous insufficiency. If your ankle looks darker, it can be your first warning sign that you need to address vein issues. That’s something our team does at Vascular Specialists in Tinley Park, Illinois, and Munster, Indiana.

7 reasons why your ankle suddenly looks darker

Your skin is your largest organ, and it’s susceptible to any number of infections and diseases. The location, severity, and how quickly the discoloration occurs can tell you a lot about the root cause of the discoloration. It may be the result of:

Bruising or trauma

Even a minor bump or twist can lead to blood vessels breaking beneath the skin and cause discoloration. Think about any recent incidents that might have resulted in trauma to your ankle.

Fractures, for example, are notorious for causing almost instant bruising. In addition to dark bruising, acute ankle injuries also cause swelling, pain, and limited (or zero) mobility. 

Venous insufficiency

Venous insufficiency occurs when your veins have difficulty returning blood from the legs to your heart. This condition can lead to pooling of blood in your lower extremities and cause discoloration, particularly around your ankles.

Unlike a traumatic injury, venous insufficiency may cause ankle darkening that appears more gradually. 

Venous stasis dermatitis

Venous stasis dermatitis 一 a condition that happens when blood pools too closely to the surface of your skin 一 leads to itchy and discolored (yellowish brown) skin. Venous stasis dermatitis is often connected to venous insufficiency. 

Varicose veins

Varicose veins are swollen and twisted veins that often appear blue or dark purple. They can develop near the surface of your skin, and if that happens, you may notice a change in skin color. Varicose veins may cause discomfort, aches, and a feeling of heaviness in your legs.

Skin infections 

Skin infections and diseases can also contribute to changes in skin color. If the sudden darkening is accompanied by redness, swelling, or itching, it could be indicative of an underlying skin condition that requires medical attention.

Peripheral arterial disease

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) occurs when there’s a buildup of plaque in your arteries. This restricts blood flow to your extremities and can result in changes in skin color, often appearing darker.

Side effects of medication

Certain medications can cause skin discoloration as a side effect.  If you've recently started a new medication and notice changes in the color of your ankle, talk to your prescribing provider to explore potential alternatives or adjustments if you suspect drug-induced hyperpigmentation.

Safety first: Even if your ankles become discolored, never stop or adjust your medication regimen unless your doctor directs you to do so. 

How are skin changes on your ankles treated?

Before you can address the skin changes on your ankles, you have to first pinpoint what’s causing the discoloration. There are many reasons why your ankles may appear discolored, and your treatment depends on the root cause.

At Vascular Specialists, our team offers a variety of treatments for ankle discoloration due to vascular issues such as PAD, venous ulcers, and venous insufficiency. Whether you need minimally invasive therapies such as sclerotherapy or endovenous ablation, medication, or lifestyle guidance, our team has everything you need under one roof.

To learn more about your potential treatments for ankle discoloration, give us a call at 815-824-4406. You can also book your next appointment online.

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