534800 tn?1217167359

"Golfer's Vasculitis" is more than just annoying

I'd like to know anyone who's had this hideous and annoying condition anywhere on their bodies other than ankles and lower legs - have you had it start on your ankles and then over the years progress to other parts of your body? Any remedy to reduce redness besides not exercising or walking outside?

I moved from the dry climate of the Southwest and Southern Cal to hot and humid New England four years ago - nevr, ever had this until the first summer I arrived and then BAM! A weird, nasty rash that scares even me - I'm extremely active (walk every where and run 6+ daily) so suffice it to say being covered with this is not good for the image!

Seriously though I'd like to know if there's a way to treat and how to keep it from spreading.
369 Responses
Avatar universal
Hi...I started getting this rash when I was about forty, just at my ankles but over the last 4 yeasrs has got worse, especially in hot countries, it has spread up to cover my entire legs, it feels like my legs are on fire, they go very taut, it is very painful. I get it all year long, but worse in summer. I use an antihistamine cream which really helps, takes a few hours to work but has a got effect, just left with a staining on your leg where the rash was, try it for yourself I hope it helps you.
534800 tn?1217167359
Thanks for the suggestion of the antihistamine cream, I'll try that, although I've been fortunate enough to have th rash all over, but not real burning, tightnest or pain to speak of.

Thanks again!
Avatar universal
Golfer's vasculitis is a form of vasculitis (swelling of the blood vessels) experienced in the lower legs caused by excessive exercise in hotter temperatures. It is more common among older people.
It is called 'Golfer's' due to the large amount of walking done in golf, as well as it being a sport more popular among older people, resulting in greater incidence of the condition.
The rash is more common in people over 50. Most walkers can't pinpoint anything new they have used that may be causing a reaction. And since so many walkers have it, they couldn't all have contacted the same irritant. The source is simply heat and age--your leg blood vessels getting irritated from the heat.
It seems to occur in healthy, active people. The researchers suggest it should not be a health concern and recommend not getting allergy testing, etc.
Pampering yourself after a good long walk by taking a cool bath, sitting with your feet up, or applying cool wet towels to the rash may help relieve discomfort.
534800 tn?1217167359
Thank you Dr. Aparna for your time replying. This is all good information and details I've discovered on the Internet in doing my research on this odd condition. I've learn to deal with it, know that if I an walking a bunch in the hot, humid weather to take it easy, but only want to somehow know if it will continue to spread over the years as it appears to be doing each summer season. I'd also like to know if I relocate to a much, much drier climate if it might go away (lived in Arizona and California and never had the problem but also never walked 8+ miles daily either).

I'm only in my mid-40's; why do you think I contracted this?

Avatar universal
Since you have been noticing that it does seem to be spreading then in all likelihood this trend will continue.
This is very commonly seen in allergic conditions, but it has not yet been proven that allergy is the basis for this condition.
Moving to a drier climate may help in removing the external factors that contributes to the condition but whether it actually brings about a remission is not known.
The reason for this is not known.
Avatar universal
I got a very bad case this weekend after a strenuous 10 mile hike.  I've had other cases in the past, but it seems to be getting worse. (I just turned 50) I even put a picture of how bad it looks online at:

I'm suppose to do a grueling climb of Mt. Adams in Washington State this weekend.  I wonder if repeated "re-injury" would make it worse or be detrimental in other ways?
534800 tn?1217167359
I'm amazed at how little (seems to be a big zero) doctors know about this condition; with SO many people getting it in one degree or another you'd think there would have been some sort of research conducted - I'm assuming because no one has died from it or that there isn't excruciating pain that accompanies the "rash" then there hasn't been the need? All I know is you can ask and ask and the same reply comes from everyone in the medical field - "uh... I don't know what that is, hmmm" Seriously. I have found that once its happened, doing a strenuous workout doesn't necessarily make it worse, it just doesn't start to go away until you've stopped the activity for a few days. I can be out walking for 8-10 miles (I live in Boston and we can walk everywhere) and if its hot and super humid, I'm guaranteed a nasty bout of it, but I can go run for 8 miles in the evening and it won't get worse.

I never get this from a run or a bike ride regardless of how hot or how far I go; only when I walk a lot in the heat and humidity.
Avatar universal
I've been getting this rash since I've been in my early 20s - my mom and sister and niece all get it too so I assume there's a genetic component to it.  The first time I noticed the rash, I had spent the entire hot, summer day at an amusement park.  Then it occurred on my calves only.  Since then, it's gotten worse with age: after walking around in Puerto Rico a year ago, it appears on my calves, thighs, belly and chest.  Last week when I was walking around Manhattan, it crept up to my belly and ankles swelled up.  It stings - especially when it first comes in contact with water.  I can still see the marks - but only barely - but it itches like hell.
Avatar universal
Well, I have a lovely case of this right now.   It's been over 90 and humid here the past two days, and I walked 18 holes in the heat of the day both days.  (No comments on the state of my gray matter, please.)    The rash started yesterday and of course got worse today.  

I'm 46 years old and have been having this problem since I started playing golf about 15 years ago.   Like everyone else I know who gets this, it's always been limited to golf, so we blamed chemicals on the golf course.    

I thought I'd post a picture of mine since it's not nearly as red as the other picture posted.   It's a little hard to see on my photo because the entire back of my calf is covered.  If you look down towards the ankle, though, you'll see it's a little splotchy there and you can see my normal skin color.

Avatar universal
Sorry, bad link to the photo:

534800 tn?1217167359
Yep, that's what it looks like, except mine is so angry red at the oneset - fads to a brown/purple shade but hangs around for days.... here in the Northeast its been 90+ with high, high humidity so I've had it for the past two weeks. I cannot, given how many people suffer with this, figure out why no one in the medical professional has sought the answers to why it occurs? To term it the "golfer's rash" isn't doing the condition justice nor do I think lending that name has doctor's taking it seriously either. I'm thinking abotu starting a blog dedicated just to this condition!
Avatar universal
If you start a blog, I'll be happy to join you there.    A couple of my fellow golfing friends have been suffering from this for so long, and I'm THRILLED to finally know what it is.   I've never bothered going to a doctor because it always resolves itself without incident.

I found that it's also known as "exercise induced vasculitis" or EIV, and Disney World at one time called it "Disney Rash."  

534800 tn?1217167359
See what I mean? "Disney Rash? Who on earth would take anything seriously named "Disney Rash?" I'd like to devote some time to actually interviewing researchers and doctors to discover how it is no one "knows" about the condition - there as to be a connection to the blood, the heart, internal body temperature, whatever and to let it go as "oh well I get this now" to me is just absurd.

I'll post a blog address just as soon as I've started one!
Avatar universal
So if walking/heat causes this condition, then what we need is a pair of temperature-controlled stockings?  Sounds like a market out there, someone.
534800 tn?1217167359
Well the temperature controlled stockings is a great idea, but for someone like myself, there's no way you get me into a pair of those - cramps my fashion style if you know what I mean. If there can find the money to research "restless leg syndrome" which to me translates to "get off your duff and exercise that arse of yours" then researchers can find out what this gastly condition is.
Avatar universal
Same here.  Wouldn't catch me dead in them.  I also doubt I'd be willing to take an oral medication for it.    A topical solutions would ideal.

I went out and walked 18 holes of golf yesterday with no problems.  The temperature was probably in the mid 80s.    The week before when I had the problem, it was more like 94.  
Avatar universal
I have had Tinea Versicolor for years, the humidity brings it out, it is a type of yeast infection. I have very fair skin which is very sensitive. If it is this, it can be treated by over the counter 1/2 % Selinium Sulfite in SELSUN BLue Shampoo, the prescription strength is 1%.  Talk to a Pharmacist, they can be very helpful and very knowledgable.
Avatar universal
I also live in the NE humidity outside Boston and before I moved here I have lived in the drier climates of CA, NM and Texas with no similar skin problem as I will describe;. Living in the north east humidity, I have noticed a stange heat rash around the sock line that can move up my calves. This does not itch and comes out on days I am active, even though I am very conscious to hydrate. I have begun to use the internet to help me understand what may be wrong as my recent trip to the Doctor resulted in a fourteen day prescription for Doxycycline/a Tetracycline antibiotic. She was concerned I may have Lyme Disease. Well the blood tests show this to be negative and I have been on the medicine for seven days now. I went out today in a 90+ degree July day and after one week of mild and subltle changes in the degree of my rash disappearing - it has suddenly reappeared. I would be interested in a blog to share this with others and find support from those who can relate. I also can not understand why more clinical test have determined a more defined diagnosis and treatment. I have seen information from Austrailia about this calling it "Golfer's Vasculitis" and have read that  GENERIC NAME: mometasone/ a steroid can be helpful, but there can be side effects.
Avatar universal


534800 tn?1217167359
Excellent info - thanks so much! I'm discovering that there seems to be a unanimous similarity to everyone that is affected with this skin "condition;" of the people I have spoken to, each has or has relatives with pronounced vericose vein and/or spider viens in the legs, are fair-skinned and are of anglo-euro origin (English, Irish, Dutch, Swedes). This isn't science but at least something for me to start working with on the 'ol blog idea... there needs to be some sort of tally or research poll done so I have data to go on beyond the posts here and the vague "medical community" hypotheses that float around the web.

I ultimately want to know how or why the body's temperature rises to such a degree to cause a surface "rash," swelling and breaking of small blood vessels that "leak" due to this rise in body temp only in humid climates - that and how to prevent or at least lessen the recovery time - I refuse to wear pants all summer!
Avatar universal
This is all very interesting.  

Mine has never gone beyond my knees, and is primarily on my calves extending slightly around the sides of my legs.   It takes a day or two to go away.   It's not itchy at all, and just slightly uncomfortable.  

My mom had horrible varicose veins, but I don't.   Still, I suspect I have circulation problems that are undiagnosed.   Twice in the past year when traveling to tropical places, my legs have swelled unexplainedly.  This last time, it was after a grueling 6 hour hike and took a couple of days to come back down to normal.   I didn't get the rash, though.  

I'd whole-heartedly support a blog or website where we could compile data.   I started a YahooGroup for a disorder my sister had at one point, and it gives sufferers a means of exchanging information.  One of the nicest things about it is the ability to create polls easily so data can be collected and trends observed.

Avatar universal
I'd be interested in more information - I got this the first time after a trip to Disney, and it's appeared again after a long day of walking in the heat.  My mom gets it as well.

I'm a 39 year old fair skinned redhead.  I've recently lost like 55 pounds taking me down to an average body weight so it can't be my weight doing it to me this time...
Avatar universal
I too have been baffled by the rash that I get on walking holidays and was pleased to read about 'golfers' vasculitis' and to know that I'm not alone. I'm thin, fit and run regularly but hiking in hot weather my legs get this dreadful red rash which I find stings and is hot and horrible.  I stick my legs as high as possible in the evenings and try to cool with lotion but haven't found any miracle cream or anything.  I got a bad attack of it when I got a high temperature last year  - I started to worry then that I was going to have chronic red swollen legs like some fat old woman - but luckily they did return to normal after a week or so.  If anyone has a miracle spray or advice as how to relieve it, I'd  be grateful. This year not going on walking holiday until end October in hope of avoiding it!... and yes, I'm over 50 although don't like to admit it!!
534800 tn?1217167359
OK, so this is what we know thus far; 1) this condition doesn't affect any particular age group (the idea that its "over 50" is only because the spattering of medical doctors tht have seen it have come from individuals in the age bracket who happen to be more proactive about their health concerns that people younger) 2) absolutely NO topical cream for itchiness, or swelling (cortizone for instance) reduces the redness, swelling or discomfort) 3) weight plays no role in the cause of the condition (I'm 5'8" 120lbs and end up covered with it) 4) no specific outdoor activity brings it on HOWEVER it does seem to be more frequent during long term walking not hiking or running which suggests something to do with blood flow (long walking can have blood "pool" over that time period while the running and hikes have you pumping blood/oxygen at a faster rate) and finally, no ingested medication remedies the condition either so while I'm not a doctor by any means, I wouldn't suggest to anyone to take a medication even if prescribed because your doctor is 100% guessing - I don't appreciate being anyone's lab rat as I've discovered more about myself and my health and healing on my own than any licensed doctor has done so far. The phrase "practicing medicine" didn't just pop up ages ago for no reason!
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