Discoloration skin on legs at the ankle, calf, foot, or toes may be due to a variety of conditions. Venous insufficiency due to failure of valves in the veins with gravity pushing the blood downward in the veins results in high pressures within the veins called chronic venous hypertension. Chronic venous hypertension causes leakage of blood cells, protein, and fluid through the walls of the small veins into the surrounding tissues.
Early changes due to chronic venous hypertension manifest as a subtle, fine red rash on the skin of the lower calf or ankle. With time, this rash becomes more obvious and covers a larger area of the ankle, calf, and/or foot. Eventually, the skin develops a brown color due to the large amount of pigment from blood cells weeping into the skin.
Some rashes of the lower extremity may be due to other conditions such as contact dermatitis or infections. A purple color of the skin of the toes and feet when the legs are positioned lower than the heart often is due to venous insufficiency with chronic venous hypertension. Pain in the toes or foot associated with a blue or a pale color may be due to blockage of arterial blood flow in the extremity.
Untreated venous or arterial conditions of the legs may lead to chronic venous stasis ulcers or arterial ulcers. Either condition severely limits quality of life and may result in limb loss.
See a physician experienced in evaluation of abnormalities of the skin of the legs and in evaluation of both venous and arterial conditions with a vascular laboratory capable of evaluating the problems. We are the only facility in the Clarksville area with the capability to fully evaluate these issues.
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