Stasis dermatitis

What is Stasis Dermatitis?

Stasis dermatitis is a chronic skin condition that commonly affects the lower legs of older adults. It is caused by a buildup of fluid (known as edema) that occurs when the veins in the legs become damaged or weak. This buildup of fluid leads to inflammation and itching in the lower legs.

Stasis dermatitis can be a very uncomfortable and painful skin condition that gets worse with prolonged standing or walking. This condition can also be caused by certain medications, trauma or injury to the legs, or diseases that affect the valves within the veins, such as varicose veins.

Symptoms of Stasis Dermatitis

The primary symptom of stasis dermatitis is the development of itchy, swollen rashes that are usually located on the lower legs. The skin in the affected area may also appear to be shiny or have a red, purple, or brown color. Other symptoms include:

  • Pain in the legs caused by swelling
  • Scaly skin
  • Skin infections
  • Skin that is warm to the touch
  • Open sores or ulcers on the skin

Treatment for Stasis Dermatitis

The main goal of treatment for stasis dermatitis is to reduce swelling in the legs. This can be done by treating underlying venous diseases or using medications, such as diuretics, to reduce the buildup of fluid. Treatment may also involve using compression garments, carefully changing positions while sitting or standing, or elevating the affected leg.

To more effectively reduce swelling and itching, topical anti-inflammatory treatments and corticosteroids may also be used. Antibiotics may also be necessary if the skin has become infected.

Prevention of Stasis Dermatitis

Stasis dermatitis can be prevented by taking steps to reduce the likelihood of developing venous diseases. These steps include:

  • Elevating the legs when sitting or lying down
  • Avoiding sitting or standing in one position for too long
  • Exercising regularly
  • Maintaining a healthy diet and a healthy weight
  • Avoiding tight clothing and restrictive footwear

While these measures may help to prevent stasis dermatitis, it is important to talk to a doctor if any symptoms develop. Early diagnosis and treatment can help to reduce the risk of complications, such as infection.