Causes and Treatments for Ankle Discoloration

Ankle discoloration is when your ankle changes its normal color. It may appear darker than usual. Ankle discoloration is usually caused by venous insufficiency. Other vein issues like varicose veins and deep vein thrombosis can also cause ankle discoloration Tinley Park. The discoloration results from hemosiderin, a pigment in the iron in your blood. When you have a vein condition, hemoglobin breaks down, forming hemosiderin deposits. In most patients, ankle discoloration is accompanied by swelling and easily marked flesh. Untreated ankle discoloration can lead to severe complications like poorly healing wounds known as venous stasis ulcers.

Causes of ankle discoloration

Venous insufficiency disease is the main cause of ankle discoloration. Your veins have valves that allow blood to flow to your heart. If the valves become weak or damaged, they allow blood to flow in the opposite direction, pooling in your veins. This poor blood flow can lead to venous insufficiency or varicose veins. Varicose veins are bulged, blue, or purple veins that form on your skin.

There are various factors that can increase your risk of developing varicose veins or venous insufficiency. They include obesity, pregnancy, smoking, a family history of varicose veins or venous insufficiency, and standing or sitting in one position for a prolonged period.

Treatment for ankle discoloration

Treatment for ankle discoloration mainly focuses on the underlying cause. There are various treatments for ankle discoloration, which include:

Compression stockings

Your doctor can recommend compression stockings to help reduce ankle swelling and improve blood circulation. The stockings put pressure on your ankle veins enabling blood to flow past the weak valves. Improved blood circulation reduces pooling causing ankle discoloration. Compression stockings can make your skin turn dry and flaky. If these effects occur, consult your doctor.

Lifestyle changes

Certain lifestyle changes, like avoiding sitting or standing for long periods, can help improve your ankle discoloration. Elevating your legs while sitting can help encourage blood circulation. Avoid wearing tight clothes because they can worsen your symptoms. Regular ankle exercises can be beneficial if you sit or stand for prolonged periods. Walking and running can also boost blood circulation in your legs.

Radiofrequency ablation

Radiofrequency ablation is a minimally invasive treatment where your doctor inserts a catheter around the damaged veins. The catheter uses radiofrequency energy to heat the affected veins, collapsing their walls and sealing them. Your doctor may use ultrasound to locate the affected veins. Radiofrequency ablation is beneficial if you have more prominent veins.


Sclerotherapy involves your doctor injecting a special chemical solution directly into the affected vein. The solution collapses the vein, so it no longer carries blood. Your body naturally absorbs the collapsed vein, and blood flow diverts to other healthy veins. To achieve effective results, your doctor may recommend several treatment sessions. Doctors mostly use sclerotherapy in advanced cases of ankle discoloration.

Ankle discoloration mainly results from vein issues like venous insufficiency, varicose veins, and deep vein thrombosis. Ankle discoloration is treatable, and your doctor’s treatment depends on the underlying problem. There are various treatments for ankle discoloration, including compression stockings, lifestyle changes, radiofrequency ablation, and sclerotherapy. Schedule an appointment at Vascular Specialists for ankle discoloration to prevent severe complications.

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