Stasis dermatitis is skin damage caused by leg vein disease. When blood pools in the veins of the lower leg, iron leaks out into the skin and surrounding tissue. At first, the skin may appear red, inflamed, and discolored. Over time, it may thicken and harden from scarring, develop a bumpy or cobblestone appearance, and turn a dark brown color. These changes can be permanent.
When not treated properly, stasis dermatitis can lead to the development of sores called venous or stasis ulcers. These ulcers usually appear around the ankle. They are painful and can become infected. This can be severe enough to make the ulcer unable to heal.
Treatment of stasis dermatitis or ulcers involves compression therapy and wound care, but you usually cannot get relief unless the underlying vein disease is treated.Dr. Bellamah was the Wound Care Director at Providence greater than 10 years and he would recommend minimally invasive procedures that can remove or close up damaged veins, helping stasis dermatitis and ulcers to heal more quickly. These treatments can be performed even if your skin is in bad shape.
It’s important to see a doctor if you have symptoms of stasis dermatitis or leg ulcers. Some skin care treatments, like lotions, creams, and ointments, can make the problem worse.