Skip to Content

Stasis Dermatitis


Stasis dermatitis

is a condition that develops when blood pools in your lower legs. It is caused by poor blood flow back to your heart.

Common symptoms include the following:

Signs and symptoms may develop over time. You may first notice itching and redness on your inner ankles. You also may have any of the following:

  • Swelling in your lower legs and ankles
  • Blue or brown spots on your skin
  • Hard and swollen leg veins
  • Skin that feels rough, bumpy, thick, or scaly

Call 911 for any of the following:

  • You feel lightheaded, short of breath, and have chest pain.
  • You cough up blood.

Seek care immediately if:

  • Your leg feels warm, tender, and painful. It may look swollen and red.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have a fever.
  • Your pain is not getting better, even with treatment.
  • You have new or worse open sores.
  • Your sores are draining pus.
  • Your movement is limited.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Manage your symptoms:

  • Wear pressure stockings. These tight elastic stockings put pressure on your legs. This improves blood flow and prevents blood from collecting in your legs.

  • Elevate your legs above the level of your heart for 30 minutes, 4 times a day. This will help decrease swelling and pain. Prop your legs on pillows or blankets to keep them elevated comfortably.
  • Apply unscented lotions or creams to help keep your skin moist and decrease itching.
  • Do not scratch your legs. Your skin can break open if you scratch. This can lead to sores or an infection.

Lifestyle changes:

  • Maintain a healthy weight. Ask your healthcare provider how much you should weigh. Ask him to help you create a weight loss plan if you are overweight. This will help improve your blood flow.
  • Eat a variety of healthy foods. Healthy foods include fruits, vegetables, whole-grain breads, low-fat dairy products, beans, lean meats, and fish. You may need to eat foods that are low in salt to help decrease swelling in your legs.
  • Exercise regularly. Ask your healthcare provider about the best exercise plan for you. Exercise improves the blood flow in your legs.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

© 2016 Truven Health Analytics Inc. Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotes® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or Truven Health Analytics.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.