Dr. K.K. Pandey
If the lower portion of your leg has black spots or discoloration, or if the colours of the skin of your ankle and leg is darker than the rest of your body skin, or if you develop swelling in the leg after walking or if after a short walk you feel your legs are stretched-out and profoundly fatigued, then all these point not towards skin disease, as usually believed, but surprisingly towards disease of the veins, which in medical terminology is called Chronic Venous Insufficiency or C.V.I.
Why do black spots appear on leg?
Majority of the women above 30 years of age do suffer from Chronic Venous insufficiency (C.V.I.). This venous disease in most of the ladies starts developing just after either pregnancy or delivery of the child. Physical exercises and regular daily walk have become non-existent in our modern day-to-day living. Young males and females working in call centers, at reception counters, stock exchange and offices of government & multinational companies are falling victim to this debilitating venous disease, as they are required to sit every day with legs hanging down in front of computers or stand continuously for a long period during their working hours.
Factors responsible for development of black spots
The supply of oxygen to legs and feet is made possible by pure blood that flows through arteries. After giving away oxygen to the legs, the remaining deoxygenated impure blood has to go back to lungs through heart for purification or replenishment with oxygen. The channels that carry back impure oxygen-deficient blood from legs to lung are called veins. This itself explains that veins of legs form the drainage system of the leg. If the functioning of veins is deranged by any reason, the drainage system of leg and foot becomes faulty. Because of this malfunctioning in drainage systems of legs. This ultimately heralds the beginning of swelling and discoloration of leg skin. If timely intervention is not initiated under the guidance of a Cardiovascular or a Vascular Surgeon, the black patches which are small in size in the initial stage, will enlarge and deepen and eventually will convert into a non-healing ulcer of leg.
The one of the main reasons of development of C.V.I. is deep vein thrombosis in which blood flowing in the leg veins get clotted and thereby block the return flow of impure blood. These blood clots may or may not dissolve completely even after treatment. Even if blood clots dissolve completely but not before they have already destroyed valves, which are situated inside the veins. These venous valves control and maintain the unidirectional flow of blood. The destruction of valves of vein deranges the process of upward return of impure blood through veins. The muscular pump of the leg which help in pushing the impure blood upwards also becomes weak, due to lack of regular daily walk and leg exercise. In some patients, venous valves are either congenitally absent or under developed since birth. In such patients, the symptoms of C.V.I. appear from the very early age.
What do patients generally complain of?
The early complaints in a patient of C.V.I. are the appearance of swelling in the leg and feet by the evening, and disappearance of swelling in the morning when the patient gets up. As the disease progresses, patients of C.V.I. start complaining of mild pain, stretching and early fatigue in the legs. Later on, appear black spots on the skin of legs and feet, which slowly keep on increasing in size and depth. As the days advance, the same very black spots give rise to eczema and ulcer.
What to do if you have black spots on leg?
Avoid tight belt and clothing aroung your waist. Avoid tight panties.
Avoid high-heeled sandals. Low-heeled sandals keep muscular pump of your leg active and dynamic.
Avoid jogging, skipping & exercises which give constant jerks to your knew. Do normal stretching exercises.
Avoid postures, which require prolonged standing or prolonged sitting with legs hanging. Have a break after one hour of continuous sitting or standing.
Avoid oily & cholesterol – rich food. Prefer foods having plenty of fibers with low calorie content, which will be helpful for veins.
Females should avoid contraceptives or other estrogen preparations because these medicines dilate the veins that will result into more accumulation of blood into the legs.
Do regular and daily morning walk for 5-6 km.
Always wear on your legs, the specialized graduated compression stockings. These specialized stocking increase the blood flow and decrease the swelling. They decrease the backpressure of blood in the leg caused by gravity. This halts the progression of C.V.I.
Any yogic exercise, which gets your legs elevated for a few minutes, will be helpful in controlling this disease
While in bed during sleep, keep your legs elevated 10 -12 inches above the chest level. This accelerates the returns of impure blood towards the heart.
Dr. K.K. Pandey