Lipodermatosclerosis is a relatively common condition for patients who suffer from chronic venous insufficiency. However, it can be difficult to diagnose and treat. Lipodermatosclerosis can present as pain, discoloration, and tenderness in the lower legs. It can sometimes be misdiagnosed as cellulitis. The condition can worsen if it’s not treated, so it’s important to have the condition properly diagnosed by a professional as soon as possible.
Interventional Cardiologist Dr. Ronnie G. Smalling at Smalling Vascular Institute specializes in vascular issues and can properly diagnose conditions such as Lipodermatosclerosis. The sooner you are diagnosed, the quicker you can begin to treat this condition.
Lipodermatosclerosis is inflammation and irritation of the skin on the lower legs. It is commonly found in people with venous insufficiency and in men and women over the age of 40.
Signs and symptoms of Lipodermatosclerosis can include:
The acute phase generally presents as redness, warmth, and tenderness in the legs. The chronic phase presents as firmness or atrophy of the skin and red or purple-brown discoloration. It’s important to seek care as soon as possible to stop the progression of this condition.
The exact cause of Lipodermatosclerosis is unknown. However, it usually occurs as a side effect of venous insufficiency.
Venous insufficiency is a circulatory condition that happens when the valves inside your veins malfunction. Blood that flows through your veins and up to your heart can pool and form a clot. This results in high blood pressure and swelling in the legs. The extreme pressure in your legs can cause the skin to feel warm and irritated and can cause discoloration.
Signs of Venous Insufficiency:
It’s important to seek care right away if you suspect venous insufficiency. The progression can be stopped by starting the proper treatment.
There are certain risk factors associated with Lipodermatosclerosis. These can include:
Maintaining your blood pressure is vital to vein health. High blood pressure makes the veins work harder to push blood up to your heart. Maintaining sufficient blood flow through the veins in your legs will help control Lipodermatosclerosis.
Treatment options include:
Endovenous ablation is a therapy that closes varicose veins. This is a minimally invasive procedure that takes place in a doctor’s office. It takes under 1 hour to complete and medicine is administered so you don’t feel pain. Heat is used to contract the collagen in the vein walls, closing off the varicose veins. The procedure leaves minimal scarring and results are usually seen within a few weeks.
Excess weight can cause high pressure in the veins. Maintaining a healthy weight can help keep your blood pressure regulated.
Regular exercise can help promote a strong heart and control blood pressure levels.
Regularly applying lotion to your legs can help keep them moisturized. This prevents dryness, skin cracking, and ulcerations.
Avoiding smoking and limiting alcohol intake can lower your blood pressure. Nicotine makes your heart beat faster which causes your blood pressure to rise.
Elevating your legs above the height of your heart can reduce the pressure in your legs.
Compression therapy helps maintain normal blood pressure in your legs. Wearing compression stockings on the lower half of your leg encourages blood to move upward toward your heart.
Over-the-counter pain medications can help control the pain while dealing with Lipodermatosclerosis.
Lipodermatosclerosis can be quite painful and interfere with your quality of life. Fortunately, if diagnosed and treated properly, the condition can be controlled.