Red Skin Blotches on the Ankles

iphototake/iStock/Getty Images

Red, patchy rashes are a common complaint and can be caused by a variety of issues. The skin can react to both outside and systemic irritants that cause this symptom. If you have noticed patchy red skin on your ankles, make sure to record what the rash looks like and what you were doing before it appeared -- even if it was something as benign as sleeping or watching television -- as this information will help your health care provider narrow the field of potential causes.


Describing the rash is an important step in identifying it. Eczema, sometimes called atopic dermatitis, is dry, red and flaky. In more severe cases it can be very itchy and bleed from scratching it. Psoriasis is usually a recurring problem with large patches of red and peeling skin looking like silverish scales that often occur on the feet. It's a chronic disease, so if this is the cause of your blotchy skin, it's likely you've had this rash elsewhere. Contact dermatitis is a red itchy rash that occurs when the skin reacts to an irritant such as poison ivy or a new detergent. A contact dermatitis rash is usually red and very itchy, reports CNN Health, but is usually not contagious.


If your rash is recurring on different parts of your body or in the winter or colder months, consider treatments for eczema, which is often triggered by the dry heat of winter. Psoriasis is a chronic disorder which usually runs in families, according to CNN Health's website. It is sometimes triggered by illnesses such as strep throat, cold weather or an injury to the skin. If you have psoriasis in your family and you recently suffered from an injury or illness, you may suspect psoriasis. Contact dermatitis may be the culprit if you've recently been hiking in the woods, changed your laundry detergent or started wearing a new ankle bracelet.


Once you've identified your rash, there are many over-the-counter treatments that provide relief. If you have psoriasis, you will need to check with your health care provider for a prescription medication, especially if the psoriasis is triggered often or includes large areas of your ankles and feet. Simple moisturizers can alleviate the symptoms of some rashes, while other sufferers will need an additional anti-itch component. In general, keep the area dry and clean as you are treating the rash. CNN Health recommends a cream containing at least 1 percent hydrocortisone to treat the itch.


Know your triggers. If you tend to get dry skin in the winter, begin moisturizing in the fall. When hiking and possibly coming into contact with poison iv,y wear socks and remove them promptly, placing them in a hot wash immediately. If you have had chronic psoriasis flares, try to keep your stress levels down and protect your skin from injury.


If your rash becomes dark red, begins to ooze or becomes unbearably itchy, see your health care provider. Psoriasis often requires prescription treatment. Additionally, if your child has a rash on his ankles, check with his pediatrician before beginning any over-the-counter treatment.