Stasis dermatitis (also known as "Congestion eczema," "Gravitational dermatitis," "Gravitational eczema," "Stasis eczema," and "Varicose eczema") refers to the skin changes that occur in the leg as a result of "stasis" or blood pooling from insufficient venous return; the alternative name of varicose eczema comes from a common cause of this being varicose veins.
Insufficient venous return results in increased pressure in the capillaries with the result that both fluid and cells may "leak" out of the capillaries. This results in red cells breaking down, with iron containing hemosiderin possibly contributing to the pathology of this entity.
The skin appears thin, brown and tissue-like, with possible skin lesions (macule or patches), red spots, superficial skin irritation and/or darkening and/or thickening of the skin at the ankles or legs
The skin may be weakened and may ulcerate in areas
Legs, ankles, or other areas may become swollen
Open sores, ulcers
Itching and/or leg pains
Sometimes pain may persist from swollen tissues and may feel like "stabbing" or "needle pricks"
The cracks and poor skin-condition of this disorder predisposes for the entry of bacterial infection causing spreading cellulitis infection in the leg. If the skin condition deteriorates further and breaks down, a venous ulcer (also known as a stasis ulcer) may form.