Ankle discoloration is a warning sign that you shouldn't ignore because it could lead to serious problems like venous ulcers. If you've noticed you have ankle discoloration, Bud Shuler, MD, and Natasha Gray, MCMSc, PA-C, of Vascular Associates, LLC in Panama City and Panama City Beach, Florida, can help. Dr. Shuler is a board-certified vascular surgeon with years of experience in treating the causes of ankle discoloration. Call the practice today to schedule a consultation or use the online form to book your appointment.
Ankle discoloration makes the skin look dark or blotchy, and the flesh might also be puffy or swollen. Skin discoloration is often a symptom of circulatory problems and vein disease. In your ankles, the problem is likely to be chronic venous insufficiency.
The discoloration is due to deposits of the pigment hemosiderin, which comes from the iron in your blood. Protein molecules called hemoglobin in your blood contain red blood cells, which release hemosiderin as they break down.
Without prompt treatment, ankle discoloration can develop into serious conditions, including:
Lipodermatosclerosis causes the fat under your skin to swell, which results in thickened skin and can lead to the formation of venous ulcers.
Venous ulcers are open sores that typically affect the lower legs, ankles, and feet. They can be painful and difficult to heal.
If hemosiderin deposits are causing ankle discoloration, it's a clear sign that you need to seek advice from the Vascular Associates, LLC team.
Chronic venous insufficiency is a circulatory disorder. When the veins in your legs are working as they should, blood pumps back to your heart once it has delivered oxygen to your tissues.
Pumping blood up your legs against gravity requires a one-way system inside your veins to stop gravity from pulling blood back down your legs. Your body achieves this using valves — barriers that prevent blood from flowing the wrong way.
If the valves suffer any damage or weaken as a consequence of the aging process, they stop working so effectively. Blood trickles back down your legs and gathers in pools. The pools of blood cause common problems like varicose veins and can lead to ankle discoloration.
Certain risk factors increase your chances of developing chronic venous insufficiency, such as:
Chronic venous insufficiency is most common in people over 40.
The team at Vascular Associates, LLC addresses your ankle discoloration by treating the underlying cause. In most cases, the cause is chronic venous insufficiency. The most effective way to treat chronic venous insufficiency is to remove or eradicate the affected veins.
The team uses the Venefit™ procedure (previously called VNUS Closure™). Venefit is a minimally invasive, nonsurgical treatment. Your provider inserts a tiny tube (catheter) into the problem vein, which delivers radiofrequency energy to the collagen inside the wall of the vein.
When the collagen heats up, it contracts, collapsing the vein and sealing it shut. Your body then diverts your blood to strong, healthy veins once the damaged vein seals.
If you have ankle discoloration, call Vascular Associates, LLC today or book an appointment online.