DermNet NZ

Facts about the skin from DermNet New Zealand Trust. Topic index: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Venous eczema

Venous dermatitis (or eczema) is an itchy rash occurring on the lower legs. It arises when there is venous disease. It is also called ‘gravitational eczema’, and many know it by the name 'stasis eczema', but it is not caused by stasis.

Normally during walking the leg muscles pump blood upwards and valves in the veins prevent pooling. A clot in the deep leg veins (deep venous thrombosis or DVT) or varicose veins may damage the valves. As a result back pressure develops and fluid collects in the tissues.

The affected leg is often swollen in venous disease, particularly after prolonged standing and during hot weather. Swelling is due to inflammation and pressure from build-up of blood in veins with damaged valves.

Dermatitis can arise as discrete patches or affect the leg all the way around. The affected skin is red and scaly, and may ooze, crust and crack. It is frequently itchy.

Gravitational eczema
Gravitational eczema
Gravitational eczema
Gravitational eczema
Gravitational ulcer
Venous disease

Complications of venous eczema

To reduce swelling in the leg

To treat the venous dermatitis

Treatment for varicose veins

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