Did you know, that you can develop varicose eczema without any varicose veins? It’s important, because, if you have a rash on your calf, near your ankle, you may be at risk of ulceration without even knowing it.
Superficial venous reflux is a condition which commonly affects the legs. It is characterised by a failure of the one way valves in the veins under the skin. The delicate folds in the vein lining do not meet and blood can travel backwards down the vein in the wrong direction. The commonest problem that arises is the appearance of varicose veins. But other serious problems can arise.
In my practice, many patients seek my advice with varicose veins. They are the obvious manifestation of superficial vein reflux. In many cases they do not cause any symptoms. In fact many people with severe varicose veins have no symptoms at all. Some people with only a few varicose veins have very severe ache, throbbing and swelling. They may have so few visible varicose veins that they do not suspect that their problem is due to veins.
One interesting phenomenon I have noted is that one of the most serious complications of superficial venous reflux – the presence of varicose eczema – may not have any varicose veins. Only this week, I consulted with a patient who had varicose eczema with no varicose veins. Now this is important because if you have leg symptoms or a complication of venous reflux, the fact that there are no varicose veins at all, does not offer any reassurance and the only way to make a diagnosis is with a duplex ultrasound scan.
The important message here is that you if have a rash on the lower part of your leg above or around the ankle, get a scan even if there are no varicose veins to see.
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