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The response to the question below was authored by Marc Mitnick DPM

Sores/Spots on Ankle & Very fat swollen Veins below the knee.

by Sunny.
(Brooklyn, NY)

Pic of sores/spots on Ankle.

Pic of sores/spots on Ankle.

Pic of sores/spots on Ankle.

venous distention on medial side of ankle
One of the Swollen Vein.

I am a 40 year old man who has really never been to a doctor in about the last 15 years, because I have been fairly healthy. However for about the past 6 months I have been drinking a beer nightly. I am concerned because I have noticed two major things appearing on my feet and legs. On my ankles, I am developing little red spots that are growing into bigger sores. The skin over these spots is VERY thin and appears to look "wet". It's so thin that if I pass my finger over it too hard it looks like the skin will be broken. I also noticed many more of the tiny red spots that are not visible yet on camera, but that is exactly how the bigger "spots" started out, so it means many more of these sores are getting ready to form. At first I thought it might have been caused by seat from my shoe or socks, but I have tried to clean the area daily with rubbing alcohol, change shoes, and socks, and also use a antfungal foot powder to prevent my feet from sweating, but that has not helped..

Another problem I have is the swelling of my veins from my knees down. The swelling is very disturbing to me, because my veins are very very fat and sore to the touch. And I know it is an internal problem, and it is not caused from just standing on my feet at work, because the veins NEVER reduce swelling, even if I have been in bed all day with my feet elevated. I should also say that my father was diabetic. But I have never shown any signs of being diabetic, I have always been healthy and
active. I am fit and able, and work 7 days per week. I have also stopped drinking any beer, as I have done many times in the past, and now I drink only water to try to cleanse my body.

I have enclosed some pictures to show what I am talking about, and I hope there is a doctor who can advise me on what I should do, and what could possibly be causing this problem.

I thank you sincerely for your time,


Hi Sunny,

I think the time has finally arrive for you to see a doctor. Just looking at these small pictures, they do not look like the feet and ankles of a 40 year old.
As best as I can make out from these pictures, the darkness appears to be bleeding underneath the skin. This certainly could happen if you have chronic distended veins. You need to find out why they are chronically distended even when you are off your feet for the whole day. In most cases of venous insufficiency, the veins will not be swollen when you first arise in the morning.
Besides the pictures and the fact that you have one beer at night (which I do not think has anything to do with this), I would need to know more about you to actually come up with a definitive diagnosis. Outside of the more common problems that could cause your ankles to look like this, there are a lot of not-so-common conditions that could also cause your ankles to appear the way they do.
It is time to visit a doctor,specifically a vascular specialist; let he or she examine you, take a good history and physical and come up with a definitive diagnosis.

Marc Mitnick DPM

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Jun 19, 2012
by: Sunny

I would like to post an update on my situation. Shortly after my initial post, I went to see a doctor, and he did confirm that these spots were a result of Venous Stasis Ulcer. He then recommended that I purchase Compression Socks and also try to stay off my feet as much as possible as well as keeping my legs elevated when I can. Staying off my feet is not an option because I do work very long hours in retail, however I did purchase those compression socks and and I have been using them on a daily basis for the past 4 months, and I must say that I do see an improvement. Although it is not a DRASTIC improvment, I have noticed that the "spots" seem to be healing from witin. By that I mean, before the diagnosis they seemed to have a very WET appearance, and the skin was VERY fragile. After wearing he compression socks, I can say that the spots no longer have that "wet" effect, and the skin is not as thin/fragile as it was. Also, many of the smallest (new) spots have disappeared.
So, although I know that I'm not doing ALL that I can do, I definitely do see an improvement in the overall appearance of my feet, it is not a big improvement, but it is still noticeable.
I personally recommend to anyone who is on their feet for many hours during the day, to purchase some compression socks because I think they have helped me. They can be found in local drugstores for approximately ($15.-$20) however after doing a little homework, I found the same pairs on Amazon for $8.00 per pair. The strength of the compression varies so it is up to the individual which you choose. I dove in and got some of the tightest ones, which were very uncomfortable for me the first few days until I became accustomed to wearing them. Now the hardest part for me is getting into them, but once they are on there is no discomfort.
Thank you Dr. Marc for a very informative website.

Jan 25, 2012
RE: sores/spots on Ankle
by: Sunny

Dr Marc,
Thank you for your quick response. After I submitted my post yesterday, I went through each of the links in the sidebar, and there is one which interested me, "Venous Stasis Ulcer" and I seached some more on that topic, and found images of patients in the early stages of this type of disorder and their pictures look almost exactly like mine. If you could recommend any other information on this, I would greatly appreciate it. Also, I am actually headed to a doctor later this afternoon, and will be sure to post an update. Your website is full of a lot of helpful information, and I am very impressed with the time in which you responded to my post. Thank you again for your time and consideration in your response.


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