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Brown or reddish discoloration on the ankles could be caused by a simple cosmetic or dermatological problem but it could also be a symptom of a more serious condition. It could be a sign of chronic venous insufficiency, venous hypertension, or venous disease, which if not treated early, could cause severe complications. In this post, we look at everything you should know about ankle discoloration Tinley Park before you dismiss it.

What Is Ankle Discoloration?

Ankle hyperpigmentation or discoloration refers to a condition where the skin around your ankles darkens considerably. It is often accompanied by symptoms like easily marked skin and swelling. In some instances, these symptoms signify vein disease.

Technically, ankle discoloration is caused by a pigment found in your blood’s iron called hemosiderin. When the hemoglobin in your blood breaks down due to venous disease, it releases hemosiderin deposits, which then cause ankle discoloration.

However, the problem is far from being simply cosmetic. Ankle discoloration caused by the venous disease can develop into a serious medical conditions like lipodermatosclerosis and venous leg ulcers. The former causes swelling and thickening in the fat underneath your skin while the latter is characterized by painful, slow-to-heal open wounds.

Vein Disease and Ankle Discoloration

Vein disease is the leading cause of ankle discoloration. Veins are blood vessels responsible for carrying blood from parts of your body back to the heart. If broken or damaged, the blood that should go back to the heart instead pools in the veins, causing venous insufficiency. Left untreated, venous insufficiency causes a condition called venous stasis dermatitis. This is when pooled blood leaks from your veins to the skin, causing it to become irritated, itchy, dry, and red.

 Ankle Discoloration as a Symptom of Varicose Veins

When veins get damaged as a result of faulty valves, they can become varicose. Properly functioning valves allow blood to pass back to the heart through its route. A problem in their function could prevent some of the blood from reaching the heart, causing it to pool in the legs, ankles, and feet, causing thick, knotted veins called varicose veins.

Ankle swelling and discoloration are common varicose veins symptoms. While they are sometimes only a cosmetic problem, they can impede your skin health and, over time, cause other problems like venous stasis ulcers and edema. This is why it is important to get ankle discoloration treated promptly.

How Is Ankle Discoloration Treated?

The first step to treating ankle discoloration is getting a proper diagnosis from a physician. Your doctor will determine the underlying cause of the problem and discuss possible effective treatments with you. Since ankle discoloration is often caused by venous disease, your treatment may involve identifying and treating incompetent calves. Your doctor may use minimally invasive treatments like endovenous ablation and Sclerotherapy.

If you notice the skin around your ankles darkening, you may have vascular disease. This symptom, especially when accompanied by discomfort and swelling, should be cause for concern and a reason to seek out the team at Vascular Specialists. Based in Illinois, the vascular physicians here diagnose and treat common conditions that cause ankle discoloration, restoring your vascular health. Call the Tinley Park office or schedule a consultation online today to learn more.