Schamberg's purpura, also called purpuric dermatosis, is a skin condition that can occur at any age but is mostly seen in adults. It's characterized by red spots that appear on the lower legs, eventually fading to brown and black, which may last for an extended period of time.
Causes and Symptoms
The causes of Schamberg's purpura are not directly known but have been associated with several conditions. In infants, it is often associated with some sort of systemic illness and can be a sign of poor infant health. In adults, it can be associated with various drug reactions and allergies and also with illnesses such as hepatitis B. People who stand for long periods or keep their legs in a similar position for long periods are generally more prone than others.
It typically presents itself as red splotches or small red dots in the lower legs. The red spots are blood that has leaked and pooled from capillaries just under the skin. As the blood is reabsorbed into the body, iron deposits are left behind, leaving a yellow or gray color that may stay for up to several years. The area may itch where spots or blotches are present. It is not pathogenic in nature and is thus not contagious. In adults, it is considered mostly harmless and a minor annoyance.
Treatment and Prevention
Most cases of Schamberg's purpura are treated with a hydrocortisone cream on the red spots and splotches to relieve itching. Topical creams that contain vitamin K are sometimes used to aid the body in reabsorbing the leaked blood, reducing the prevalence of the red coloring, but use of a vitamin K cream does not prevent Schamberg's purpura.
Support socks can be worn to prevent blood pooling and capillary damage. Sitting or moving about after long periods of standing or similar prolonged leg positioning can help reduce or prevent occurrences. Walking back and forth, stretching, and sitting down with your feet elevated are good examples. In infants, it can be essentially benign or a sign of a dangerous systemic illness, and they should be taken to a physician immediately.