Rash on Ankles

Rash on Ankles

A rash on ankles refers to an inflammatory condition of the skin occurring on the ankles. It can be caused due to a number of diseases or disorders which can either be mild or deadly. Rash on ankles can affect a small or large area of either one or both the ankles. It can affect anyone and can often be a part of a larger rash affecting the feet and legs.

As per the underlying cause, rash on ankles can differ considerably in extensiveness, appearance and severity levels. It may or may not experience itchiness and can be whitish, reddish, silvery or purplish in color. Rash on ankles may be scaly, flat, lumpy or raised and may elicit skin peeling or flaking. It can also occur as blotches or spots, or may occur as firm and extensive skin anomalies

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An ankle rash may be caused due to minor reasons such as contact with irritants such as poison ivy, etc., or as an allergic reaction to allergens such as pollen, etc. It may also be caused due to infections, autoimmune diseases, periphery arterial conditions, etc.

Symptoms of a rash on ankles

A rash on ankles may appear by itself, or along with various other symptoms affecting the skin and other parts of the body. The symptoms generally differ as per the underlying cause. For example, if rash on ankles is caused by inflammation or infection, then it may be accompanied by flu-like signs.

Some of the common signs and symptoms that accompany a rash on ankles include the following:

  • Another rash may appear on the feet or legs
  • The areas surrounding the rash on ankles may elicit puffiness or swelling
  • The rash as well as the nearby areas may develop blisters and/or experience fluid discharge
  • The skin may be abnormally cold to one’s touch
  • There may be irritation, reddening or inflammation of the affected skin
  • The rash on ankles may experience skin tearing and bleeding
  • Flaking, scaling of skin may be observed
  • The skin texture may change
  • Pain or burning sensations
  • Itchiness
  • Cracked and/or dry skin

Rash on ankles may also occur as a symptom of some condition affecting other sections of the body. The associated symptoms are as follows:

  • Flu-like signs such as fever, soreness of the throat, fatigue, cough, headaches and pains and aches
  • Signs of decreased supply of blood to the extremities. Cramping of the muscles, cold fingers, toes, ears and nose, and absent healing of sores
  • Children and infants may exhibit irritability
  • The feet and lower legs may experience numbness
  • Runny nose and sneezing
  • Achiness, joint pain and swelling
  • Inexplicable loss in weight
  • Reddish eyes
  • Vomiting
  • Anxiety, stress and depression
  • Lowered or lack of appetite

Rash on ankles can signify the presence of an underlying deadly disease. One needs to immediately consult a doctor, in case of the following symptoms:

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  • The level of attention or consciousness may experience changes, which include lethargy, loss of consciousness, or unresponsiveness
  • Wheezing, extreme problems in breathing, or breathlessness
  • Spontaneous swelling of the lips, mouth, face, tongue or throat
  • Spontaneous discharge of bloody feces or urine which is pinkish, bloody or reddish
  • Pain in the abdomen, tightness, pain or pressure in the chest
  • Severe headaches
  • Rapid heart beats
  • Vomiting blood

Causes of a rash on ankles

Rash on ankles is caused due to a number of reasons as listed below.

  • Infectious causes of rash on ankles
    • Infections by bacteria, which include strep and staph infections
    • Presence of Fifth disease which is a minor viral infection affecting children and causing damage to unborn fetuses
    • Infectious viral conditions like roseala rash
    • Folliculitis, a condition featuring inflammation or infection of hair follicles
    • Rocky Mountain spotted fever
    • Measles
    • Ringworm
    • Chickenpox
    • Inflammatory and autoimmune causes of rash on ankles
      • Cutaneous lupus, an autoimmune disease affecting the skin
      • Erythema nodosum which is an inflammatory condition
      • Discoid eczema, which is normally caused by dry skin
      • Vasculitis, a inflammatory disorder of the blood vessels
      • Psoriasis
      • Allergic causes of rash on ankles
        • Allergic contact dermatitis caused due to contact with allergens such as a perfumed body cream
        • Irritant contact dermatitis caused due to contact with irritants like poison oak, poison ivy, etc.
        • Atopic dermatitis
        • Allergic purpura
        • Adverse reaction to medications
        • Insect or parasitic causes of rash on ankles
          • Bites by ticks or fleas
          • Bites by mosquitoes or bed bugs
          • Infection by mites which are parasitic causes of scabies
          • Infection with body lice
          • Other causes of rash on ankles
            • Golfer’s vasculitis which results in rash of lower legs including ankles and caused due to prolonged exercising in hot weather
            • Venous eczema
            • Abuse of methamphetamine
            • Heat rash
            • Stress and anxiety
            • Varicose veins
            • Life threatening causes of rash on ankles
              • Erythema multiforme, which is a kind of allergic reaction
              • Toxic epidermal necrolysis which results in loss of skin and mucous membranes as an extreme drug reaction
              • Anaphylaxis, a deadly allergic reaction


All cases of rash on ankles are diagnosed for the underlying cause and then treatment is carried out to treat the preexisting conditions.

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