It’s common for the skin of the lower legs to suffer from venous issues. Returning blood from the feet to the heart works against gravity for two-thirds of the day, placing a burden on the valves inside veins that help prevent the backward flow of blood.
Retaining fluids in the ankles, called edema, is a common sign that valves are failing. The characteristic swelling pushes outward on the skin, and reduced circulation takes a toll, particularly if your edema is chronic.
Stasis dermatitis, a form of eczema, sometimes occurs when you have chronic edema. Without treatment, complications, including hard-to-heal ulcers, can arise. While there are home care treatments that can help, partnering with MD Vein and Skin Specialists ensures expert care for your skin. Here’s what you need to know about caring for stasis dermatitis.
The best treatment for stasis dermatitis
As with many conditions that arise as symptoms of an underlying disease or injury, treating the source is often the best way to heal the symptom. With stasis dermatitis, both the origin of the problem and the skin condition itself can be treated. Though these treatment goals may be addressed simultaneously, the best treatment for stasis dermatitis is to control or eliminate the chronic edema.
Causes of chronic edema
You may develop edema for a number of reasons, including:
- Certain medications and hormone treatments
- Congestive heart failure
- Kidney or liver disease
- Vein failure in the legs
- Lymphatic system issues
- Long-term protein deficiency
In addition, a sedentary lifestyle that includes long hours spent in stationary sitting or standing positions can aggravate other edema causes.
Controlling chronic edema controls stasis dermatitis. Some of the treatments used to control edema are:
- Compression stockings to reduce swelling
- Weight loss
- Elevating the legs during sleep
- Low sodium diet
- Removing varicose veins that may contribute to edema
These strategies don’t directly treat your skin condition, but improvements to leg circulation help your body repair stasis dermatitis damage naturally.
Reducing dermatitis symptoms
Antihistamine medications may help to relieve the itching associated with stasis dermatitis, and you can apply moisturizer to help relieve skin dryness. However, use a product that’s free of perfumes and dyes to reduce the chance of introducing contact dermatitis.
Oral or topical antibiotics may be used if skin infection is present, and topical steroid creams may help to reduce inflammation.
Treating leg ulcers
Should your stasis dermatitis progress to the point where venous ulcers emerge, special care is necessary, as these ulcers tend to heal poorly because of the same poor circulation that contributed to their origin.
You might require surgical cleaning of the ulcer wound to remove dead tissue. Leg ulcers often respond better to occlusive (air and water-tight) dressings, changed infrequently. In more serious cases, skin grafts or hyperbaric oxygen treatments may be necessary.
Treating stasis dermatitis in its earliest stages may help to prevent complications like venous ulcers. Contact MD Vein and Skin Specialists when edema first emerges to benefit from prompt medical care. You can reach the office by phone or online, so book your consultation now.