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Swollen ankles, black and itchy skin on legs and forehead. Unable to walk. What would you suggest?

Jul 2012
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Answered by

Practicing since : 1993
Answered : 1196 Questions
Hello sir,
my mother who is 72yrs old has a health problem.
her ankles get swollen quite often and she has developed a skin condition on her leg and ankle which the local doctors have diagnosed as dermatitis. she also has similar skin problem on her forehead where she puts sindhoor. that portion of skin on leg has turned black, quite itchy and scaly, sometimes when it gets worse i see that it gets 'weepy' in that portion.
she is not able to walk properly because of pain in her right leg/upper thigh and also because recurring bouts of itching and pain.
what would you suggest - most of the suggested medicines by local doctors havent provided any long term relief.

Posted Sun, 9 Sep 2012 in Skin Hair and Nails
Answered by Dr. Praveen Rodrigues 23 minutes later
Hi there XXXXXXX
Thanks for your query on this portal.
At the outset, may i state that i am a 'local' doctor seeing as you hail from Bangalore. However, i was out of the country for over a decade & admittedly, dermatology has had a 'face-lift' since i have been away with the focus being more on monies than the patient per se.
As I see it, 'dermatitis' literally means 'inflammation of the skin' & is a general term & not a diagnosis per se.
Your mother's age & physical features et al need to be kept in mind where 'swollen ankles' are considered & i may need a clearer picture. It may be prudent to upload photographs of the skin lesion/lesions as well for a more clearer view.
From the information you have supplied, it appears that your mother has a type of 'contact' dermatitis or an 'allergic' skin reaction to a substance/substances as the case may be. The skin lesion on the leg now appears to be an 'Ecthyma' from your description & will require an antibiotic course in addition to local creams if this is indeed so. It is better given her age that she is seen by a 'dermatologist' as it is not clear if hitherto your 'local' doctors are GP's. Even so, best to get a second opinion.
If you so wish, my contact details are furnished on my profile & you may visit me at XXXXXXX Hospital, Miller's Road, Bangalore for further clarifications or any other dermatologist in your vicinity that you feel comfortable with as these antibiotics and other treatment may require a prescription & you may need to go in for some patch testing should you wish to try to pinpoint the allergens at a later date.
Wish your mum a speedy recovery for me & God Bless.
Dr Praveen Rodrigues MD Dermatologist, Cosmetologist & Venereologsit, XXXXXXX Hospital, Bangalore, India.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Swollen ankles, black and itchy skin on legs and forehead. Unable to walk. What would you suggest? 5 days later
Hello Doctor,
This time i have attached a few pictures of the left leg as reports. Pls do check.
The 'local' doctors that i have referred to in my query are General Practitioners who have treated specific symptoms of 'swelling' around feet/ankle area, skin condition which was diagnosed as dermatitis/eczema. I dont know if the two are related - though it does appear to be so.
Swelling of feet/ankle - the area gets puffed up like filled up with water and if pressed the indentation stays for a while.
Dermatitis/eczema like condition - she has this on forehead and leg.

Pls suggest some remedies
Answered by Dr. Praveen Rodrigues 26 minutes later
Hi there. Yes the ankle swelling may have been secondary to infected eczema & the eczema in the photos is 'weeping'. You may try applying a topical corticosteroid-antibiotic (gentamycin) cream topically as i suggested earlier & will surely need a course of oral antibiotics & antihistamines. Due to site restrictions, am afraid i cannot divulge trade names. You may just have to visit your GP or any dermatologist & get the prescriptions et al. The foot end elevation is essential while she sits/lies down to help reduce the edema. it is very possible application of some agent like turmeric etc has aggravated the eczema. Do help this was useful & good luck with the treatment. Cheers. Dr Praveen
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Swollen ankles, black and itchy skin on legs and forehead. Unable to walk. What would you suggest? 7 minutes later
Hello doctor,
thanks for the quick reply.
few final clarifications needed
1] can this be completely cured - through diet or any medicines?. Corticosteroid creams havent helped a great deal. Still she faces lot of itching and pain.
2] can this cause bigger problems later? anything that needs to be done on an immediate basis to avoid further complications?
3] turmeric - yes, initial stages it was realised that the XXXXXXX was causing the eczema on her forehead and then switched to pure organic haldi based XXXXXXX this helped for a about a year and now there is mild eczema conditions on forehead. The problem on leg however is quite wide and hasnt withdrawn for most medicines.

Let me know on whats the best recourse in this case.
Answered by Dr. Praveen Rodrigues 26 minutes later
Hello Again XXXXXXX
Yes it should be able to achieve complete resolution through medicines & weight control
You may need to do a 'colour doppler' study of the lower limbs blood vessels to rule out any underlying problem @ any major hospital..we have a very good cardiology unit headed by Dr XXXXXXX Nayak @ XXXXXXX Bangalore that come highly recommended
Please stop all organic or inorganic dyes/powders & ensure similar things are not being used in the cooking of her particular 'food' dishes!
Again, i reiterate, web portals are at best guides. Your mother will need a personal touch especially given her age. So please take her to a dermatologsit nearest you.
This is the best recourse i can suggest 'online'.
Cheers & All the Best to your mother. I wish her Good Health & a speedy recovery. I hope this has been helpful. Cheers!
Dr Praveen Rodrigues MD
Dermatologist & Cosmetologist XXXXXXX Hospital, Bengaluru.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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