As people age, their skin changes. You may notice that the skin on your lower legs becomes discolored or bruised on lower legs. The medical term for this is hemosiderin staining. While not dangerous or life-threatening, hemosiderin staining usually indicates venous insufficiency or vascular conditions that require the intervention of a healthcare professional.
Many people, however, also experience more aggressive changes in their skin health. Stasis dermatitis is one of the most common skin conditions for patients dealing with venous insufficiency. This aggressive condition can be incredibly uncomfortable and painful, and challenging to resolve without medical intervention. That’s where the Ozark Regional Vein & Artery Center team can help.
Whether brown skin around your ankles or scaly red skin causing swelling and pain, skin changes due to your venous health should be addressed immediately. That’s why we created this blog.
We want to highlight different skin conditions caused by your vascular health and identify tools for hemosiderin staining & stasis dermatitis treatment in Rogers. And we want to help clarify if your skin condition or visible changes are cause for concern. That’s why we’ve included a breakdown of the CEAP Classification for Vein Treatments to help better identify your venous issues.
Stasis Dermatitis Symptoms
Stasis Dermatitis appears as dark purple, red and brown blotches on the legs, especially the lower legs. The skin may also appear shiny, irritated, and have a rash. Patients may experience swelling or edema also.
As venous disease progresses, leg discoloration can also be accompanied by:
- Varicose veins
- Itching and burning
- Pain and discomfort
- Sores and ulcers
- Thickened skin
- Reduced leg hair
- Addition of yellow and brown blotches
- Leg discoloration
Tools For Stasis Dermatitis Treatment in Rogers
These aggressive symptoms often make stasis dermatitis treatment in Rogers the only long-term solution for patient comfort and quality of life. Thankfully, there are lots of different treatment solutions.
Because circulation is the main issue, your doctor may suggest surgery to repair your veins. Whether or not that is an option, there are other ways to get the fluid moving in your legs:
Take Care of Your Body
A few changes to your daily habits can help you control your venous stasis dermatitis under control and keep it from worsening. A healthy diet & regular physical activity play a huge role in taming the worst of your vascular concerns. Moving makes blood flow better. Ask your doctor how often you should work out and what activities are safe for you.
You should wrap the area with a medicated dressing to help it heal. If you have an infection, your doctor will prescribe an antibiotic pill or cream.
Wear Compression Stockings & Comfortable Clothes
Wear comfortable clothes. Compression stockings are a good choice for your legs—they ease swelling and improve blood flow—but choose loose-fitting cotton clothes for the rest of your body. Tight or rough fabrics can irritate your skin and affect circulation.
Take care of your skin.
Your skin could get easily irritated. Avoid cleaning products, perfumes, grass, plants, pet hair, or anything else that bothers your skin. It’s a good idea to use only gentle cleansers and soft towels when you bathe, followed quickly by a fragrance-free moisturizer.
A moisturizer can help with dry skin and keep the area soft. Petroleum jelly and thick creams can be good options. Choose one with no fragrance, dyes, or perfumes so it doesn’t irritate your skin.
Support Your Blood Flow
There are lots of little behaviors you can use to improve circulation and treat stasis dermatitis. An easy intervention: keep your feet elevated above your heart. When you can, elevate your legs for 15 minutes every 2 hours and while you sleep.
If your job keeps you sitting or standing for long periods, take time to move. Don’t stand still for too long. Take a walk for about 10 minutes each hour.
Invasive Stasis Dermatitis Treatment in Rogers
If symptoms continue or are severe, the Ozark Regional Vein & Artery Center specialists recommend advanced, minimally invasive vascular treatments. While not a strict stasis dermatitis treatment in Rogers, these solutions will tackle the root cause of the issue.
These treatments aim to restore circulation by eliminating diseased veins and blood clots. With proper treatment, blood is redirected to flow through healthy veins.
What to Expect from Stasis Dermatitis Treatment?
Ozark Regional Vein & Artery Center uses the latest protocols in advanced diagnostics and treatments for managing a patient’s vein and vascular issues.
Patients of minimally invasive treatments for leg discoloration due to poor circulation will be able to go home the same day as the procedure. Since only a small incision is needed, there are no stitches. Also, recovery time is much shorter than traditional surgery, so you can typically resume your normal daily routine within 24 hours.
The Fundamentals of Stasis Dermatitis
We’ve discussed symptoms and stasis dermatitis treatment in Rogers, but let’s take a step back. What are the root causes of stasis dermatitis?
When circulation is poor, blood flow is congested, and pressure builds in the veins. The pressure causes veins to leak, and no longer being pushed against gravity, blood begins to pool in the lower leg. Iron from pooling red blood cells begins to stain lower leg skin, causing it to discolor and appear splotchy.
Stasis dermatitis indicates that venous disease is present and, possibly, at an advanced stage. Two possible conditions that will cause leg discoloration are:
Chronic Venous Insufficiency (CVI)
CVI develops when vein valves are damaged and weak and stop working properly. Blood flows down into the legs instead of returning up to the heart. The blood pools and veins bulge and leak, causing leg discoloration and other symptoms.
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT)
DVT is a serious condition where blood clots form in the leg’s deep veins. This affects blood flow, and a blood clot can travel through the body and cause an embolism.
Once you treat the underlying venous disease, improved blood flow will help circulation and restore the skin tissue.
What Is Hemosiderin Staining?
Earlier, we discussed hemosiderin staining. The brownish-purplish discoloration of the skin around your ankles. You may be wondering, “why was that relevant exactly?”
The big reason we’re discussing hemosiderin staining is that the two conditions are often misidentified. While both are severe indications of venous disease, they’re subtly different.
Hemosiderin staining looks like a patch of skin that is a darker color than the surrounding skin. It can look like bruising, or it can be brownish or rust-colored. It may be harder to spot if you have a dark skin tone. Over time, the discoloration may become darker and look nearly black.
Hemosiderin staining usually occurs on the lower leg, near the ankles, or feet. It’s caused by blood leaking out of tiny vessels called capillaries. The blood pools under the skin and leaves a hemoglobin residue that settles in the tissue there. Hemoglobin contains iron, causing rusty color stains.
What is the Difference Between Venous Stasis and Hemosiderin Staining?
Hemosiderin staining and stasis dermatitis are two different conditions that can occur in the skin, but they may sometimes be confused due to their similar appearance.
Hemosiderin staining is a skin discoloration caused by the deposition of hemosiderin, a breakdown product of hemoglobin, in the tissues. This typically appears as brownish-purple patches or streaks on the skin and is often seen in areas of the skin that have experienced some form of trauma, such as bruising or injury. Hemosiderin staining may also be seen in areas with chronic venous insufficiency due to blood pooling in the legs over a long period.
Stasis dermatitis is a skin condition that occurs when there is impaired circulation in the veins of the legs. That’s right, the causes for the two conditions are very similar.
Venous insufficiency can cause fluid to accumulate in the tissues, leading to swelling and inflammation of the skin. Usually, this first appears as red-brown or yellow-brown discoloration around the ankles.
Over time, the skin may become thickened, discolored, and itchy. Stasis dermatitis typically appears as a red, scaly rash on the lower legs and is often accompanied by other symptoms such as pain and swelling.
Why It Matters
While hemosiderin staining and stasis dermatitis may cause skin discoloration on the lower legs, they have slightly different root causes—tissue saturation and skin inflammation. As a result, though they start looking similar, they often present with different symptoms and require additional care to treat fully.
The Ozark Regional Vein & Artery Center team can help differentiate between the two conditions and provide appropriate treatment and medical guidance!
Treatment for Chronic Venous Insufficiency
Since hemosiderin staining is a symptom of chronic venous insufficiency, this is the condition you must address. Taking care of the vein condition will help ensure the skin discoloration, and related symptoms, don’t worsen.
To manage it, lifestyle changes are key. They will prevent more blood from pooling in your feet and ankles and help improve your overall vascular health.
Some tactics that can help:
- Avoid long periods of standing or sitting, and change positions or move your legs periodically if you must do these activities for a long time.
- Get regular exercise, even just walking.
- Lose weight if you are overweight.
- Elevate your legs when you sit or lie down.
- Wear compression stockings.
We encourage all our patients to look into any hemosiderin staining they notice immediately. That’s because it results from issues with the blood flow in your body. Taking steps to improve your circulation will help your overall health. Reducing the effects of chronic venous insufficiency will not only help the appearance of the skin but also reduce the chances of other complications.
Not all cases of venous insufficiency or other diseases result in visible, easy-to-identify skin conditions. That’s why not everyone will benefit from this detailed exploration of hemosiderin staining & stasis dermatitis treatment breakdown. Instead, we thought another tool might be helpful for those patients without the same visible indicators: the CEAP classification scale.
The letters CEAP stand for:
- C – clinical findings
- E – etiological factors
- A – anatomical cause
- P – pathophysiological cause
When first devised, doctors thought that these four factors could describe and grade every leg with varicose veins. However, using all four parts of the system makes the classification exceptionally difficult. That’s why most providers simply use the C step of this classification system.
The C, or clinical score from the CEAP classification, ranges from C0 to C6, increasing in number with severity.
No visible or palpable varicose veins
Telangiectasia (Thread veins / Spider veins / Broken veins)
Varicose veins without any symptoms (Asymptomatic)
Varicose veins with symptoms
Swollen ankle due to varicose veins or hidden varicose veins (venous reflux)
Skin damage due to varicose veins or hidden varicose veins (venous reflux)
Healed venous leg ulcer
Venous leg ulcer
What You Need to Know About CEAP Classification
The Importance of Regular Screening
However, whenever using the CEAP classification, it is essential to remember that it is only a clinical score.
With a duplex ultrasound in Rogers, it is quite possible that you may discover worse venous conditions present deeper inside the leg. In that case, simply examining your skin and legs wouldn’t be enough.
Hemosiderin staining and stasis dermatitis are easy indicators of vascular disease. But many patients experience no symptoms at all. That’s why we encourage you to come to the Ozark Regional Vein & Artery Center for regular screening.
Hopefully, this blog has helped you identify vascular disease-related skin conditions and given you the tools to assess whether you need the support of vascular professionals.
Turn to the Ozark Regional Vein & Artery Center for Stasis Dermatitis Treatment.
Whether you’re looking for screening or stasis dermatitis treatment in Rogers, come to the Ozark Regional Vein & Artery Center. Our experience and growing suite of care options allow us to guide you toward lasting wellness solutions for a happier, healthier life.
We are a premier practice in Northwest Arkansas for all the highest-quality vascular treatments available. Dr. Haney, Dr. Stout, and the expert staff have over 75 years of combined experience in the industry. Patients come to us from across the country—from Fayetteville & Bentonville to Houston, Texas, & Springfield, Missouri—to ensure they receive the best concierge-level care.
After all, helping people is what we do. And it is our mission to provide the people of Arkansas and beyond with the absolute best care possible.
Take the first step to recovery with our Virtual Vascular Screening Tool, or schedule a consultation. We also hold regular free screening events.