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Ankle Discoloration

Vascular Surgery Associates, LLC

Vascular Surgery, Wound Care, and Podiatry located throughout Maryland

When the skin around or near your ankle becomes discolored, it’s a red flag that you have advanced vein or artery disease. The experienced physicians at Vascular Surgery Associates, LLC, run diagnostic tests in the office, determine the cause of your ankle discoloration, and immediately begin the customized treatment you need to restore healthy circulation and prevent complications. To get expert help for ankle discoloration, book an appointment online today or call one of the offices in Bel Air, Baltimore, Towson, Westminster, Elkton, Frederick, Ellicott City, Hampstead, Abingdon, Columbia, Lutherville, Severna Park, MD, Wilmington, and Newark, DE.

Ankle Discoloration Q & A

What is ankle discoloration?   

Ankle discoloration refers to changes in your skin’s appearance that develop due to an underlying vascular condition. The type of discoloration that occurs depends on whether the problem arises from venous or arterial disease. In both cases, however, ankle discoloration signals advanced vascular disease.

Though several vascular conditions can cause ankle discoloration, the two most common include venous insufficiency and peripheral artery disease.

How does venous insufficiency cause ankle discoloration?

When you have venous insufficiency, one or more valves inside your leg veins become weak and fail to function. These valves usually keep blood flowing up your leg. When a valve stops working, some blood refluxes, flowing back down the leg.

Refluxing blood accumulates in the veins, and high venous blood pressure develops in the lower leg. As a result, several conditions occur around your ankle, including varicose veins, stasis dermatitis, skin hyperpigmentation, lipodermatosclerosis, and venous stasis ulcers.

Stasis dermatitis causes an eczema-like rash and skin redness on your lower leg near your ankle. Lipodermatosclerosis leads to thickened, leathery skin and inflammation.

Ankle discoloration usually refers to a dark, reddish-brown discoloration that occurs when high venous pressure forces blood out of the tiny vessels near your ankles. As a result, iron pigments from your blood accumulate in the skin, causing dark hyperpigmentation.

How does peripheral artery disease cause ankle discoloration?

Peripheral artery disease (PAD) develops when cholesterol and other fats accumulate in an artery wall. As the fatty plaque enlarges and hardens, it blocks blood flow through the artery.

PAD most often occurs in your lower legs. If it goes untreated and the blockage becomes severe, the loss of oxygen-rich blood leads to skin hyperpigmentation. In extreme cases, the lack of oxygen causes tissue death, and your skin turns dark blue and black.

How is ankle discoloration treated?

Your provider recommends the best treatment based on the severity of your symptoms and the underlying condition. These are a few examples of the treatments recommended for venous and arterial disease:

  • Compression stockings
  • Sclerotherapy
  • VenaSeal™
  • Phlebectomy
  • Endovenous radiofrequency ablation
  • Endovenous laser ablation
  • Balloon angioplasty
  • Stenting
  • Atherectomy

If you develop ankle discoloration, call Vascular Surgery Associates, LLC, or book an appointment online today.