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"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
I have been researching a little more with some thoughts on what might be causing/contributing to MY situation. Yes, like most of you, it seems to manifest when standing/walking for long periods of time.

But, in conjunction with this, I also now think I do not HYDRATE enough.
I never have been much of a water/liquid drinker, and I have occasionally been dehydrated... slightly sick and weak feeling. After drinking a glass of water this feeling goes away.

So after doing some investigation, I think it is possible that my body, if I start to get into a dehydrated state, compensates by storing body fluids in my legs, causing this condition we are all talking about.

I have begun to make sure I am hydrated enough, by remembering to drink adequate amounts of water each day. Since I have started to do this (6 weeks ago), I have not encountered an episode of the GV.

Maybe ??????
Avatar universal
I first had this condition, similar to others, of a skin rash above the sock line and on the inside or even the front (shin) of my calves after doing significant walking.  It doesn't happen in winter, only when it is warmer.  I hiked last weekend for four hours, slowly, and in a temp of about 77 degrees Fahrenheit, which wasn't really hot, and humidity was comfortable, yet I still contracted the rash.  I also get the rash over the top of my feet mainly along the long bone rise (metatarsal?) from my low ankle toward my big toe. For this reason I think I might be acquiring two different types of rashes, but not sure because with pressure my blood flow is inhibited just as the pressure applied by the sock, thus the vascular inflammation causing the redness.  I'm just curious if others have the hand swelling symptoms as well with this.  It all might be interrelated.  Maybe it also somehow relates to the whole complex dynamic between our vascular and lymphatic systems.  I don't know what I'm talking about from my lay perspective ha, yet I wonder.  Our lymphatic system transports fluids, the watery part of our blood called plasma, as well as fats and white blood cells etc.  I'm going way beyond myself here; but wonder if other commentors might have that same experience of hands swelling.  I think that it's the same with the feet and lower extremities and that maybe Golfer's Vasculitis is the manifestation of a "domino effect" of sorts and the result of people who have inflammatory issues, or maybe early phase of other issues with processing fats or lipids and related organs like the spleen... etc.  

This rash first occurred when I was 45 and walking all day in Manhattan in 90 degree or higher heat (starving writer along "publishers row" ha).  I thought it was from latex socks at first and all too readily donated my socks to GoodWill and tossed some of my older socks and bought cotton socks that kept falling apart and leaving lint stuck to my skin and blisters....  I mixed Neosporin first aid ointment with Hydrocortisone creme and that made it disappear much more quickly.  I went to a drug store when I ran out of creme.  I showed my rash to the pharmacist.  He said; "I must inform you that it wasn't the Neosporin that got rid of your rash.  I'd be willing to bet it was the hydrocortisone creme as it looks like an allergic reaction."  That's what led to me donating most of my socks....  I then tried just the hydrocortisone creme only and he was right, it disappeared.

I silently disagreed about it being allergy related.  Why was so much of it occurring above the sock line if it was a contact allergy?  I looked closely and could see the small blood vessels.  Using the cortisone creme, just a thin layer is necessary, and it vanishes much more quickly.  It leaves a brownish hue in a way a bruise does that for me takes about a week or more for that to disappear.  I discovered by blogs and pictures from volunteers on the internet that at least it looks exactly like "Golfer's Vasculitis".  I can even at a certain stage take my legs from being elevated, turn on my davenport and put my feet on the floor and in minutes see the rash triple in its degree of redness.  I rotate, elevate my legs again and the redness diminishes far less in intensity which really seems to indicate its vascular relatedness.  The "rash" does not itch and it is not painful.  Also it occurring above and along the sock line seems to me to be circulatory in nature, and the large bone rise on my foot part of it might be the same condition as that is a major pressure point from tying my hiking boots.  

Also, does anyone else also have the symptom I have with long walking and that is one's hands and wrists swelling?  After about 45 minutes of hiking my hands swell.  If I make a fist I can really feel the effect of the swelling.  Sometimes the palms of my hands will have an odd mottled look of red and white patterns around what I think might be the subcutaneous fat globules (my lay terminology ha).  I know of the white fat globules or whatever as I cut the palm of my hand badly once, right through the skin, and could see it, a sublayer of fat, and it's very white just as animal fat seen on steak or whatever.  The other problem is... why does it occur on the inside and above the ankle.  If it's vascular then why wouldn't it occur all the way around the whole leg rather than just the inner side of it.  I think maybe there are two different types of skin tissue and related to sweat glands etc. too as I think the inside of the ankle sweats more than the outer side... just another consideration.  Hope I've helped in some small way or another.          
Avatar universal
Hello Everyone, I just found this community because I had the worst case of GV I've had since it started about 5 years ago.  So I did a search and now at least I have a name for it.  I coach people to do endurance hikes and my first season I got a few splotches on the back of my calves.  I though it was heat and allergy related from hiking on hot, dusty trails used by horseback riders (I'm allergic to horses).  Then it happened again on another warm hike, no horses.  I started wearing lighter socks to keep my feet and legs cooler and that seemed to help a little, but didn't prevent it.  If I wear thicker socks that get bunched up around my ankles, I will get the rash under the socks as well as above.  With cooler, shorter socks, the rash is only above the socks. Blotchy rash on my calves from ankles to knees. Over time it has gotten worse and definitely occurs more when the weather is hot.  The worst was after my most recent hike just this past weekend.  I've been thinking about why this time was so bad and after reading all the posts here, I think there are a few things that made it worse.  1) I hiked two days during a camping trip in very hot weather, but only had a mild GV reaction, which I cooled off in a cold creek.  2) Drove home from that camping trip 6 hours riding in the car with air conditioner going and experienced a little bit of swelling in my legs. 3) Some level of dehydration from hiking and camping in hot, dry weather at elevation, along with air conditioning drying me out. 4) I may have eaten more salty foods than normal while camping leading to fluid retention. 5) Hiked for 6 hours the next day in warm, humid weather.
By the time I got home after that hike, my lower legs were swollen and blotchy red toward the bottom half of my calves (only in back) and bright red (like a sunburn although I wore pants all day) on the upper part of my calves (only in back). I got one small blotch on the front of my thigh...first time this has happened.  My skin gets hot to the touch where the rash is and it usually stings when hot shower water runs over it, really feels very much like a sunburn.  I iced my legs and elevated them this time, but normally I don't have to do that.  As always, the redness and blotchiness disappeared after a few days, but this time my legs have the discoloration that so many of you have mentioned. They also feel dry and itchy now. I definitely think the swelling I had made the GV worse and I think too much sodium contributed to that, along with wearing underwear that was a little tighter than normal around my legs...constricting some circulation.  I've had hikers, that I am training, get similar rashes and have always told them it seems to be a type of heat rash...now I can give them better information.
I would like to hear more about the success of using compression socks and I will see if I can get the Zyflamend at my local health food store.  I'm certainly going to watch my salt intake before and during hikes.  I hike almost every weekend, anywhere from 2 to 8 hours, so I really want to find ways to prevent this uncomfortable (and yes, ugly) condition.  And, finally...I am 46 years old and of English/Irish/Scottish decent, since this seems to be a somewhat common factor.
Avatar universal
I have also suffered from Golfers Vasculitis for the past ten years, and until finding this site found it almost impossible to get decent information about it. I had cause to visit a dermatologist a couple of weeks ago and mentioned my (annoying) problem when out walking in the heat and she recommended wearing flight socks which give a medium compression to the area. I am going on a Holy Land cruise in two weeks time and will be giving them a try under my cotton trousers (i only hope no-one sees them) and will let the Forum know how i get on.  I am also of English/Scots decent with the classic white skin and red hair and am 63.
Avatar universal
Yestersay was my 3rd outbreak and it was so severe I completely freaked out and am reading everything I can find online. As nice as it is to know I'm not alone, it's disheartening to know there's nearly nothing to be done. After consulting Dr Google, I'm 90% positive I have GV.  All 3 episodes have been after a day at WDW or Disneyland....not such the happiest place on Earth right now for me. First time was last Feb, second time was last week and neither one was very bad, just odd & took a week to clear up. Yesterday I spent all day at DL walking and standing and the rash was shockingly horrible, angry, red after 8 hours.  It's warm, but not itchy.  I'm not even sure it's better at all yet, but I've put Tea Tree oil on it and been elevating them today. I have a good friend who's an endocrinologist and I'm going to try the Zyflamend if she gives it an ok. It's so ugly and I have a big trip to WDW for my husbands 50th bday next month with a week of walking amd tours so I'm looking for any and all suggestions.

I did the DL Half marathon 10 days ago and didn't get any rash so it's really just the walking for me and the heat/humidity.

I had planned to wear shorts & dresses for my trip, but no way can I do that if I look like someone just threw acid on my legs.  

For those using Zyflamend, do you have to take it everyday or can you just use it before you're going to have a big walking day?  I wasn't sure if it needs to build up in your system to work. I'm a horrid pill taker, but I'll do anything that might work.

Avatar universal
I too am just back from a cruise round The Baltic Sea.  We did a lot of standing when visiting sites and it was hot and fairly humid.  After a few days I got this very red rash from above my ankles and up my calves.  It was fairly solid.  On the front of my legs it was more spotty.  It was not raised or itchy.  I mainly wore long trousers and cut-off trousers and did not sun bathe. I have rheumatoid arthritis and take a mild dose of Methotrexate.  I am also on blood pressure pills and statins.  My doctor thought it might be due to the methotrexate.  The rash has gradually started to fade during the few days since I have been back.  I am nearly 70 have fair skin and am half Scottish, quarter Irish and quarter English.  Other peoples comments have been very helpful.
Avatar universal
Sorry, I am rmf691 and have just posted a comment and I meant The Black Sea dn not The Baltic!
Avatar universal
Well folks, i lasted for 7 days before my legs flared up. I didn't use the flight socks until the 8th day and they were of no use at all. I think it took longer because we  were at sea for 3 of those days, so there was not so much constant walking. I had been using something called Chillicious from Templespa to rub on my legs when they got a little tight, and this seemed to ease the heat a little.
Avatar universal
Hi Ambler1

I am so glad my husband found what I have.  Anyway, I usually get this when we go to Disneyland when it is warm.  I just went today and wore shoes and socks and my inner calves above the ankle are beet red.  We went about 2 weeks ago in similar weather and I was wearing flip flops with a thick sole.  I did have a very slight rash and my legs hurt but it was not as bad.  So, I believe that socks make a big difference in this.  My lower legs were REALLY warm today.

Blessings to all
Avatar universal
Hi Ambler1

I am so glad my husband found what I have.  Anyway, I usually get this when we go to Disneyland when it is warm.  I just went today and wore shoes and socks and my inner calves above the ankle are beet red.  We went about 2 weeks ago in similar weather and I was wearing flip flops with a thick sole.  I did have a very slight rash and my legs hurt but it was not as bad.  So, I believe that socks make a big difference in this.  My lower legs were REALLY warm today.

Blessings to all
Avatar universal
After some time, my Dermatologist has suggested that I might have "Wells Syndrome". After doing some research, I suppose it is quite possible.
Symptoms seem to be much the same as mine.

You all might want to check this out for your specific situation.
Avatar universal
Thanks, b12551.

I did some Googling and found the description below on the NIH website.  I can say some immediate differences with my symptoms are that the red blotches are not itchy or particularly painful.   When I first get them, it may be uncomfortable to rub them, but quickly they just become an aesthetic issue with no discomfort all.   They also just fade away without turning different colors.  

Wells Syndrome

Wells syndrome is a rare eosinophilic disorder characterized by itchy, burning, red, and inflamed areas on the skin often on the lower arm or leg. The lesions may be single or multiple. They are usually red at first (looking like cellulitis) then change to brown red, to blue gray, then greenish gray. The lesions are usually painful and are sometimes associated with a fever. They typically heal without scarring within weeks to months; however they often recur. The cause of Wells syndrome is unknown; but some researchers think that Wells syndrome is an autoimmune reaction.
Avatar universal
I've read about 100 of these posts - my word they are numerous!  I haven't read anything about preventing the condition.  I have tried coating the legs with Vaseline BEFORE the walk.  Twice, I have not had the rash.  Is this circumstantial?  Have I missed a post about prevention (without pills)?  
BTW, I get the condition in the dead of winter.
Avatar universal
I live in Hong Kong and I have had "golfer's vasculitis" since I moved here two years ago.  What I have observed, is that when I am well hydrated -- drinking about 64 oz of water every day (and have done so for several days), it seems to prevent the rash.  Last summer, I was very careful to make sure I was always well hydrated.  I never got the rash if I was.  This summer, my hydration habits have not been so great, and the rash is back.  Let me know if that makes a difference to you.
Avatar universal
I've found this forum after a lot of searching after trouble with this condition.
I find I get the rash if I wear walking boots on a longish walk (8m plus) on a day with temps above about 18C.
Similar to what some have said I find the rash very debilitating, it spreads mainly above my socks (a little below but not much) up my calves. Red like bad sunburn at it's worst lower down then blotchy further up. It feels hot and like bad sunburn and the skin feels tight. It is also very painful to walk.
Unsightly I can cope with but the last couple of miles when it's bad are very slow and painful!
I've found that I don't get it anywhere near as bad if I wear very light walking trainers with breathable walking socks that claim to keep your feet cool.
I'm pleased to find others with the problem but like you surprised that the Dr's don't seem to know. I did go to a chemist in Ireland when it was at it's worst, they'd never seen anything like it either!
I'm also fair skinned, welsh with Irish descent.
Avatar universal
I haven't noticed any correlation to hydration as I'm always very well hydrated.

I've just had my first case of it this year, and as always, it came on a hot day on the golf course.    I started noticing it on the 12th hole.   My first symptom is a tingling sensation and "fullness" on the back of my calves.  

I know two other women golfers with this condition and happened to be playing with one that day.   She realized she was getting it on the 17th hole.  

I don't have any pain associated with it other than if I touch it.   For example, I can't sit with my legs crossed, and I'm very gentle when toweling off after a shower.  
Avatar universal
As a golfer who has had this problem over a number of years, I cannot disagree that it is heat related, however I believe that chemicals on both the fairways and particularly in bunkers are the main cause. When playing in short pants, I notice it immediately I play a bunker shot, but only if the sand has a particular chemical.
I am Irish, in my mid-sixty living in the UK and playing golf all over the world.
Avatar universal
Maybe you have a combination of things going.    Both myself and one of my other friends also get this hiking in hot weather.   For us, it's just extended walking in hot weather that does it.  
Avatar universal
I too have had this same rash I did have a biopsy done and it showed perivascular lymphocytic dermatitis, has anyone else had biopsies done of their rashes?  I was referred to a rheumatologist for further eval. Mine usually goes all the way to upper thighs and has even reached my chest before, it burns and causes pain in my joints and legs, I have also developed a blister like sore which that thought to be caused by the herpes simplex virus however it has not responded to valtrex (an antiviral med) this sore is also very painful.  I can not see the reumatologist until July 1st and I hurt.  my other symptoms are GI issues, fatigue, inflammation in esophagus, around heart and lungs, hair breakage, night sweats just to name some.  any input is appreciated.
Avatar universal
I don't know if this will help anyone But I have had several bouts of this complaint and generally find it goes with no specific treatment in a few days. I have self diagnosed ( I am  Physio  so have some knowledge but not necessarily in this dept.). I have started wearing long socks( knee length) I initially wore flight socks but found them too tight so I got some compression socks of a type similar to those worn by athletes and find that this prevents the problem. I hope this is of some help to your readers
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