Before & After | Blog | Med Spa | In The Media

Notice a Dark Spot on Ankles or Lower Leg? It Could be a Sign of a Vein Disorder

A dark spot that appears on the ankles and lower legs might not seem like something to worry about, but it could be a sign that you have developed vein disease. Learn about how vein disease can cause dark spots and discoloration to appear on the ankles and lower legs.

Venous Insufficiency Often Causes Dark Spots on Ankles and Lower Legs

Blood travels from your legs to your heart via veins. To keep the blood properly flowing and traveling in one direction, one-way valves are located at the end of the veins. These valves prevent the blood from moving in a backward direction and traveling back into the leg.

When the veins of the leg are healthy, blood flows from the legs to the heart and back without any problem. The valves are strong and able to keep blood from pooling, leaking or traveling to the areas of the lower leg. That doesn’t happen if you suffer from vein disease.

Venous insufficiency, a type of vein disease, causes the valves of the vein to weaken. Over time, the weakened valve will become damaged. A damaged valve is unable to prevent blood from flowing backwards into the lower leg. When this happens, the blood leaks into the skin and tissue of the lower leg. The leaked blood can cause discoloration of the skin, which is why you notice a visible dark spot on ankles and lower legs.

Common Symptoms That Occur with Venous Insufficiency

Skin discoloration and a dark spot on ankles or lower legs is just one of the many symptoms of venous insufficiency. If you suffer from venous insufficiency or some other type of vein disease you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Swelling of the lower leg or ankle
  • Muscle cramps
  • Extreme fatigue of the lower leg
  • Feeling as if the leg is heavy or extremely weighted
  • Aching or throbbing of the leg
  • Open wounds that do not seem to heal properly – a wound should start to heal within two weeks

Leg Ulcers can Form Without Proper Treatment

When caused by venous insufficiency, the dark discoloration that you see on your ankles and lower legs is caused by blood leaking from the damaged vein. If the damaged vein is not promptly and properly treated, an open wound or ulcer can form as the surrounding tissue and skin starts to break down. Ulcers are not only extremely painful, but they are often difficult to treat.

It is important to treat venous insufficiency before an ulcer forms. A vein specialist can help get you an accurate and timely diagnosis. Once you have an accurate diagnosis, your vein specialist can create a treatment plan that addresses any problems and improves the health of your legs.

Other Reasons Why Dark Spots on Ankles Happen

Venous insufficiency is one of the most common reasons why dark spots appear on the ankle. However, that isn’t the only reason. The following are some other health problems and conditions that may cause a dark spot on ankles:

  • Diabetes
  • Actinic Keratosis – usually causes lesions that are red and scaly. At first, the lesions are bright red, but over time they darken in color.
  • Age spots 

A vein specialist can help you determine what is causing the formation of a dark spot on ankles. By conducting a complete examination and performing any necessary imaging, a vein specialist will be able to determine if the dark spots are caused by venous insufficiency or another medical problem.  

If the dark spots are caused by venous insufficiency, your vein specialist can provide treatment recommendations that will help to improve your health.


If you’re ready to schedule a consult at the Vein & Vascular Institute, just call 856-309-8346. During your call, we’ll help you find a great time to come by and get care for deep vein thrombosis, varicose veins, or any other venous disorders affecting your life. We look forward to helping you remain in great health through the years, so please feel free to call today

Reading this and not in New Jersey? Take an appointment with one of our trusted partners: