What is venous eczema?
Eczema is a skin condition where the skin becomes red and itchy, and often becomes flaky when scratched.
This website was last updated on 25/04/12. Content has been provided by Mr Mark Whiteley MS FRCS (Gen) FCPhleb. Mark Whiteley is a Consultant Vascular Surgeon from the UK
Venous eczema is the name given to eczema of the lower legs caused by venous reflux. Venous reflux occurs when valves in the leg veins stop working allowing the blood fall down the veins the wrong way, hitting the skin capillaries and causing inflammation.
Often this reverse of flow in the veins causes the veins to dilate (varicose veins
) but very often the veins do not dilate or are not seen (venous incompetence or "hidden varicose veins").
Therefore venous eczema, although always caused by venous reflux in the leg veins, may be associated by visible varicose veins
but also may appear in the absence of visible varicose veins (although hidden varicose veins will be found if investigated with venous duplex ultrasound