Stasis Dermatitis: What is it? Causes and Treatment


Stasis Dermatitis is a skin condition that is caused due to increased blood pressure in your capillaries mainly affecting your legs.

It happens because of a defect in your circulatory system, that cause the blood to be poured out of your capillaries along with the breaking down of RBCs. When there is a problem in the venous back response blood isn’t sent back to the heart as it should be, that causes it to build up in your legs.(1)

The damage caused due to the increased blood pressure mainly affects the lower part of your legs because this is where the blood collects. Adding to this, our legs have one-way valves that are responsible to pump blood back up, as one gets older these valves could weaken, which will result in low functionality. Statistics show that it’s more common in women then it is in men and usually affects people above the age of 50.(2)

It causes a buildup of fluids that ultimately leads to your legs swelling up. It’s said that Fibrinogen that’s present in your blood leaks out and is converted to fibrin. This fibrin forms barriers around your capillaries that supply oxygen to your tissues. As the Fibrin stops this from happening it causes the tissues to weaken and eventually die.

Your skin tends to get discolored and turn brown, there can also be itching and bleeding that can happen on your skin along with this. Your legs can swell up and might even cause a lot of pain and heaviness. The first signs of this condition are that there will be a swelling around your ankles, which will lessen when you sleep and return during the day.(3)

From your skin being thin and itchy, it may become thick and turn brown in color, this is usually considered to be the second stage in this condition. It ultimately has ulcers on the skin and turns sores that might contain pus and blood.  The skin turns hard, and liquid oozes from the cracks, it can be painful.

The main causes of this could be Varicose veins and congestive heart failure that causes this condition. It’s understandable as to why Varicose Veins can cause this because that’s a condition that develops mostly when a person stands from too long. Another name for Stasis Dermatitis is the Venous Gravitational Eczema because the gravitational pull can make it really difficult for your blood to be pumped back up.

If you’re overweight or don’t exercise much and stand for long-continued periods of time, this can also cause Stasis Dermatitis. Kidney damage and blood clots in your legs are other side effects that can occur due to this condition.

It can also be a result of venous insufficiency, which is when your veins are not able to pump back the blood to your heart, but not all cases of Venous Insufficiency leads to Stasis Dermatitis.

Kidney damage and blood clots in your legs are other side effects that can occur due to this condition.

In case your cuts open up, causing a lot of pus to ooze out, it might lead to infections that would get in result infect your leg and worsen the condition. It’s always better to visit the doctor when you see something like this happening, don’t try to meddle with it, instead go to the doctor and get the pus drained.

The normal treatment that is given for this is that steroid based creams that help treat the swelling and reduce the pain simultaneously, it also helps keep the ulcers under control as well. Other than this the person is asked to wear compression stockings on the legs. They are advised not to stand for extremely long hours, make sure to put their feet up sometimes, and exercise regularly if they feel their weight is resulting in the swelling of ankles. Antihistamines are prescribed to reduce the itching along with moisturizers.

What are the causes of stasis dermatitis?

Varicose Veins and congestive heart failure.

What are the symptoms of stasis dermatitis?

Swelling around the ankle, ulcers, yellowish and brown skin.

What is Venous stasis dermatitis?

It’s a skin condition that happens when the fluid, mainly blood builds up in your legs.

What is the connection between stasis dermatitis and heart failure?

A heart failure means that there is going to be poor circulation or when the veins cannot pump back.

Struggling with a Skin or Hair issue? Download the CureSkin App now by clicking here to get the best treatment. It’s easy, fast and affordable!



Picture of Dr Jisha Gomez

Dr Jisha Gomez

She is a highly skilled dermatology physician with strong expertise in improving skin & hair health through the development of corrective treatment combinations. She completed her Post-graduate Diploma in Dermatology from Cardiff, UK & Fellowship in Aesthetic Medicine (FAM) from the Institute of Laser and Aesthetic Medicine, Delhi with over 5+ years experience treating skin patients. She has worked in Government hospitals in Trivandrum and Bangalore. She is actively involved in creating awareness for healthy skin, breaking the social stigma based on skin colour & stopping steroid abuse in our country.