Telemedicine options available. Learn more about our COVID-19 response.

Leg Discoloration

Heart Vascular and Leg Center -  - Vascular Specialist

Heart Vascular and Leg Center

Vascular Specialists & Cardiologists located in Bakersfield, CA

If you have a vascular problem like venous insufficiency or high blood pressure, you’re also at risk of leg discoloration. When left untreated, leg discoloration can lead to more serious issues, including pain, leg ulcers, or infection. At Heart Vascular and Leg Center in Bakersfield, California, board-certified cardiologist Vinod Kumar, MD, FACC, and his team specialize in diagnosing and treating leg discoloration. To schedule an appointment, call the office or book a consultation online today.

Leg Discoloration Q & A

What is leg discoloration?

service img

Leg discoloration, or venous stasis dermatitis, is a type of skin inflammation that occurs due to poor circulation. It can occur anywhere on your legs, but it’s especially common near the calves, ankles, and feet because that’s where blood usually collects.

When blood pools in the veins of your lower legs, pressure increases. Over time, this additional pressure damages your capillaries, allowing proteins to leak into the surrounding tissues. As leakage progresses, it causes a buildup of cells, fluid, and proteins, causing your legs to swell and change color.

What are the symptoms of leg discoloration?

The symptoms of leg discoloration vary depending on the severity of your circulatory problems. Telltale signs include:

  • Skin discoloration
  • Itching
  • Scaling
  • Ulcers

You might also experience symptoms of venous insufficiencies, such as:

  • Leg swelling
  • Pain
  • Tenderness
  • A dull ache 

As leg discoloration gets worse, you might also notice the skin on your legs looks thin or paper-like. Without prompt intervention and treatment, your skin may harden or turn dark brown.

Who is at risk of experiencing leg discoloration?

Leg discoloration affects people of all ages and races, but certain factors may increase your risk, including:

  • Being overweight or obese
  • Living a sedentary lifestyle
  • Having varicose veins
  • Experiencing a lower leg injury
  • Having high blood pressure

You’re also more likely to experience leg discoloration if you have deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

How is leg discoloration diagnosed?

To diagnose leg discoloration, the team at Heart Vascular and Leg Center reviews your medical history, asks about your symptoms and lifestyle, and conducts a physical examination. During your exam, your provider carefully observes your feet, legs, and ankles. In most cases, it’s possible to make a diagnosis using visual observation alone.

If your provider suspects a more serious underlying health problem, they might recommend a doppler ultrasound. This noninvasive test uses sound waves to check the blood flow in your legs and feet.

How is leg discoloration treated?

Whenever possible, the team at Heart Vascular and Leg Center uses conservative, at-home treatments to manage leg discoloration. For example, healthy lifestyle changes like propping up your feet when sitting, wearing compression stockings, and wearing loose-fitting clothing can significantly improve your circulation.

Your provider might also recommend prescription lotions or skin ointments. Antibiotics skin products like neomycin can prevent allergic reactions and ease itching. Benzocaine and other numbing medications can provide relief from pain or irritation.

If leg discoloration is negatively affecting your quality of life, schedule an appointment at Heart Vascular and Leg Center. Call the office or book a consultation online today.