Complications of Varicose Veins #6: Darkening of the Skin Around the Ankles
Untreated varicose veins and underlying venous insufficiency can cause changes in the skin, including darkening of the skin. We call this skin hyperpigmentation. This usually occurs in the inner ankle and can worsen to involve the lower portion of the leg as shown in the picture. Over time, the skin becomes firm, dry, eczema-like, and can even break open, causing a venous leg ulcer. When the skin becomes darker as a result of a vein problem, this is referred to as chronic venous insufficiency (CVI). This can be prevented by addressing the underlying venous insufficiency and varicose veins early on.