The human body is fairly good at throwing up warning flags when there’s a problem. If your ankles are taking on an unpleasant color, this could be just such a warning signal. And with most things, addressing these red flags early on, in this case ankle discoloration, the better you’re able to ward off larger issues down the road.
At Beach Wellness MD, Dr. Ali Golshan is a vascular specialist who specializes in the many conditions that can compromise your circulation. And ankle discoloration is one of the more common symptoms of chronic vein insufficiency (CVI).
Here’s a look at what’s causing your ankle discoloration and, more importantly, what we can do about it.
Behind the changing color
As we mentioned above, and in answer to the title posed in this article, ankle discoloration is typically due to chronic vein insufficiency, which means the circulation in your lower extremities is compromised.
The veins in your legs are some of your more harder-working blood vessels as they have to fight both distance and gravity to return blood to your heart. To aid in this endeavor, the veins in your legs are equipped with tiny valves that shut off as blood flows through, keeping your blood moving toward your heart by preventing it from spilling backward.
If these valves begin to weaken, they may not close properly, which allows blood to pool at the lowest points — such as your ankles.
CVI isn’t terribly uncommon — in fact, the condition affects 40% of the population in the United States. CVI mostly develops in people over the age of 50, and it’s more common in women than in men. This condition can also strike pregnant women of any age.
CVI often leads to venous stasis dermatitis, which includes the ankle discoloration, as well as the following conditions in your lower legs and ankles:
- Varicose veins
- Itchy, flaky skin
- Thickening skin
- Hair loss
- Open sores
In most cases, CVI is progressive, which means that the longer the disease is left untreated, the greater your chances of developing worsening symptoms, which is why you should see us at the first signs of trouble.
Treating your ankle discoloration
When you come in, we first examine your ankles and perform a series of tests to confirm venous insufficiency. Ankle discoloration can also signal heart disease, so getting the right diagnosis is important.
If we determine that CVI is behind the problem, Dr. Golshan offers several in-office treatments that will reroute your blood to healthier veins. These minimally invasive treatments, which include Varithena® and sclerotherapy, are quick and easy, and you’re free to return home afterward.
If your ankles are discolored, contact our office in the Brentwood area of Los Angeles for expert treatment.