Now that we understand how to recognize stasis dermatitis, let’s discuss what can be done to treat the problem.
Unfortunately, it is impossible to repair the old valves in our veins. However, we can try to compensate for their malfunction by trying to make their job easier. This is done by elevating the legs above the heart when sleeping or lying down. This allows gravity to move the fluid back to the heart. There are even leg pumps that you can use to mechanically massage the leg and move the fluid back into circulation.
Obviously, it is not always possible to keep the legs above the heart. For these instances, a person can wear compressive stockings that help to put pressure on the lower leg and foot so as to minimize the space fluid can collect. These can be worn all day long, or even during air travel to keep blood from pooling in the legs and feet.
One word of caution… Patients who have heart conditions may need to check with their cardiologist before they engage in increasing the fluid flow back to the heart. If the heart cannot handle the extra fluid, they may put themselves into heart failure. It is better to have some swollen ankles than overloading the heart with an amount work that it cannot handle.
As mentioned before, stasis dermatitis can also cause the legs to become very itchy and uncomfortable. Topical corticosteroid cream can be used to combat this discomfort. But again, be judicious with this cream as it may cause the skin to become very thin and fragile.
If treated correctly, venous ulcers can be avoided. Work with your podiatrist in management of your condition to get the best outcome.