Who gets Venous Eczema and how common is it?

Picture showing patches of venous eczema of right leg associated with varicose veins.

The photo on the right shows patches of venous eczema of right leg associated with varicose veins. The eczema is seen around the ankle and in small patches up the inner part of the right calf. Large varicose veins are seen in the calf. The patient did not have any eczema anywhere else on his body. Steroid cream improved patches for a while, but as soon as it was stopped they came back with a vengeance and were more itchy. The correct treatment is to stop the venous reflux using keyhole surgery such as the Whiteley Protocol approach.

Venous Eczema occurs only after many years of inflammation due to venous reflux (see above).

Research performed by Mark Whiteley, in Reading in the 1990s, showed that 1 in 20 schoolchildren aged 9 had venous reflux already, and 1 in 9 of schoolchildren aged 18 had venous reflux - although virtually none of them had any varicose veins visible on the surface.

Therefore the underlying venous problem that can cause Venous Eczema starts very early in life - and so it is possible that Venous Eczema can also appear fairly early in life. However, due to the time it takes to develop, it is rarely seen in the under 20s but it is more common the older the person becomes.

Hidden Varicose Veins

In the adult population, about 1 in 4 people have varicose veins. As there are many people who have venous reflux without visible varicose veins ('hidden varicose veins') the number of people at risk from Venous Eczema is even higher.

As Venous Eczema is curable and preventable, no one should actually have it at all. If people insisted on seeing venous experts and having treatments such as those provided by The Whiteley Protocol, then anyone with Venous Eczema could be cured and virtually anyone coming with any venous problems before the Venous Eczema developed could have the Venous Eczema prevented.

Therefore in any population where it is common, it shows that there is a lack of people having proper diagnosis, investigation and treatment.

What should you do if you have Venous Eczema?

If you have, or think that you might have, Venous Eczema you need to be assessed by a venous expert such as the experts at The Whiteley Clinic. You should probably go to your GP first, but you should not allow yourself to be side-tracked into ineffective or temporary treatments such as steroid creams or support stockings (see below).

Picture shows Venous eczema over varicose veins behind right knee

The photo on the right shows Venous eczema over varicose veins behind right knee. The varicose veins can be seen as red skin patches over some of the veins and it can be seen where the skin has been scratched to it itching. This is totally curable by The Whiteley Clinic protocol of procedures - creams and steroids will only ease it i the short term.

Everybody who either has Venous Eczema, or who might have Venous Eczema, needs to have a specialised venous duplex ultrasound performed by an experienced vascular technologist. Many people perform venous duplex ultrasound examinations, but only a few do these regularly most days of every week. It is essential to have a venous duplex ultrasound performed not only by someone who is trained, but who spends the majority of their time scanning veins. At The Whiteley Clinic we ensure that all of our Vascular Technologists are trained to the level required by The Whiteley Protocol and have regular venous work keeping their skills honed.

It is acceptable to have support stockings or steroid creams in the short term PROVIDED they are only used to relieve the symptoms whilst the referral to a venous specialist and a venous duplex ultrasound is arranged.

How to recognise Venous Eczema

There are some pictures on this website of Venous Eczema showing what it can look like.

In order to recognise Venous Eczema, the first thing is to think of it. Any patch of red or roughed or itchy skin on the lower leg or legs might be Venous Eczema. It is usually around the ankle or lower leg, due to the fact that the blood falling or 'refluxing' down the veins without valves, usually hits this area. Sometimes, especially if there is a very big varicose vein near the surface, a patch of Venous Eczema can appear either directly over or very close to the varicose vein - which might even be on the thigh.

In a great many people, the eczema is seen but the veins are not (see the section on 'hidden varicose veins' above). Therefore, if you can't see varicose veins, it doesn't mean that it isn't Venous Eczema.

If the patch of eczema is over the knee, then it is less likely to be Venous Eczema. If there are patches of eczema elsewhere on the body, especially on the arms or scalp, then the patches on the legs are less likely to be a venous cause. However, they might be - as venous reflux is such a common problem.


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