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Ankle Rash

By

Healthgrades Editorial Staff

What is an ankle rash?

An ankle rash is an inflammatory reaction of the skin on the ankles. Rashes on the ankle can be caused by a wide variety of mild to serious diseases, disorders and conditions. Ankle rashes can affect a small to large area of one or both ankles at a time, and can occur in all age groups and populations. Ankle rashes are often part of larger areas of rash extending to the legs and feet.

Ankle rashes vary greatly in appearance, extent and severity depending on the underlying cause. Ankle rashes may or may not be itchy and can be red, white, purple or silver in color. The texture of an ankle rash can be flat, raised, bumpy or scaly and include flaking off or peeling of skin cells. Ankle rashes can also appear as dots, spots or patches, or they may appear to be solid and continuous.

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An ankle rash can be a sign of a relatively minor condition, such as irritant contact dermatitis caused by exposure to poison ivy or poison oak. A rash on the ankles can also be caused by an allergic reaction to a variety of allergens (allergic contact dermatitis), such as grass. Other causes of ankle rashes include viral infections, autoimmune disorders, and varicose veins. Ankle rashes, along with leg and foot rashes, are also a complication of poorly managed diabetes and peripheral artery disease, which can cause skin changes due to poor blood flow to the extremities.

Ankle rashes can have several serious causes. A rash of purple spots on the ankles or other areas can be caused by a potentially serious condition, such as allergic purpura.Any rash that is associated with allergies combined with shortness of breath, wheezing, or swelling of the face, mouth or throat is a symptom of a serious, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction called anaphylaxis. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have any of these symptoms.

Seek prompt medical care if you do not have life-threatening symptoms but your ankle rash is getting worse, the rash does not improve within a few days, or you develop other symptoms.

Medical Reviewers: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Review Date: Oct 27, 2016

© 2016 Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Healthgrades Operating Company, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the Healthgrades User Agreement.

View Sources

Medical References

  1. Golfer’s vasculitis. The Medical Journal of Australia. http://www.mja.com.au/public/issues/183_01_040705/nix10218_fm.html.
  2. Rashes. Medline Plus, a service of the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003220.htm.
  3. Rashes affecting the lower legs. DermNet NZ. http://dermnetnz.org/site-age-specific/lower-leg.html.
  4. What Are Varicose Veins? National Heart Lung and Blood Institute Diseases and Conditions Index. National Institutes of Health. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/dci/Disease/vv/vv_all.html.

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