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Renal Exam

Skin Changes of the Leg

December 1st, 2019


Skin changes and overall poor skin condition of the lower limb may occur due to soft tissue disease; arterial, venous or lymphatic insufficiency; loss of afferent nerve supply or simply poor self-care.

Venous Skin Changes

  • Look For

  • Oedema
  • Venous eczema
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • White scar tissue (atrophie blanche)
  • Induration - fibrosis of subcutaneous fat (lipodermatosclerosis)
  • Significance

  • Venous insufficiency.
  • Causes of Venous Skin Changes

  • Venous hypertension due to incompetent valves
  • Venous outflow obstruction
  • Calf-muscle pump failure - obesity, immobility

Arterial Skin Changes

  • Look For

  • Absent pedal pulses
  • Thin / shiny skin
  • Cool skin
  • Hair loss
  • Significance

  • Partial or complete arterial occlusion.
  • Causes of Arterial Skin Changes

  • Atherosclerosis
  • Diabetes
  • Thromboangiitis
  • Vasculitis


The term trophic derives from the Greek trophe, meaning 'nourishment'.
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