Varicose eczema is a long-standing skin ailment which involves the lower legs. It is common among individuals who have varicose veins. The condition is considered as a long-term condition but there are available treatment options to control it.
Similar with other forms of eczema, the affected skin becomes:
- Reddened and swollen
- Scaly or crusty
- Flaky and dry
There are phases where the symptoms settle and become severe. In some cases, the legs become swollen particularly at the end of the day or after prolonged periods of standing.
What are the causes?
Varicose eczema is generally caused by elevated pressure inside the leg veins. Once the small valves in the veins ceases to function properly, it is hard for the blood to be driven upwards against gravity and can leak backwards.
This increases the pressure inside the veins which causes the fluid to seep into the adjacent tissue. Varicose eczema is common among individuals with varicose veins since it is often an indication that the leg veins are not functioning properly.
Some individuals develop the condition for no evident reason, but certain factors increase the chances for this to develop such as:
- Gender – women are prone to develop the condition
- Obesity – there is increased pressure in the leg veins
- Increasing age – as one gets older, there is difficulty with movement which can disrupt with circulation
- Pregnancy – this increases the pressure placed on the leg veins
- Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) – the formation of blood clots in the leg veins can damage the vein valves
- Being sedentary for long periods – this can affect the circulation in the leg veins
Management of varicose eczema
Generally, the treatment for varicose eczema involves a combination of the following:
- Self-care measures – this includes measures to improve the circulation such as staying active and regularly elevating the legs
- Topical corticosteroids – creams and ointments are applied on the skin to alleviate the symptoms such as itchiness
- Emollients – these are moisturizers that are applied on the skin to prevent dryness
- Compression stockings – these are worn daily which compress the legs tightly at the foot and ankle region and becomes loose up the leg to improve circulation.