Dermatology Community
53.4k Members
534800 tn?1217170959

"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
WOW! I had no idea this even existed and now so many of you have nearly identical stories to mine. Background info: 60 year old female of normal weight & physical condition (could stand to lose a few pounds & exercise more - can't we all?). I have always been lax about drinking enough fluids.  My ethnic background is Danish/Scottish/French descent - freckley skin, prone to sunburn.  My symptoms first appeared on a Baltic Sea cruise after touring St. Petersburg, Russia. We had a long, cramped bus ride, and hours of comfortable walking. I wore long pants and it was a warm, humid day. I have never experienced this before. I have 2 more weeks of our European vacation and don't plan on wasting them with my feet up. I have been applying wet washcloths to my calves & elevating my legs when I can. I've had it for 3 days now & I am now staying in shorts or skirts as long pants intensifies the darkness of the rash making it almost a burgandy red.  I noticed there doesn't seem to be a affirmation on Austin's suggestion of his herbal supplement ( or did I miss it?). Thanks for all the good information & suggestions.
Avatar universal
Hey. I think i may have this rash too.
Im 25, male and weigh 95kg's and 182 cm's tall.
I was standing on my feet and walking during my first 12 hour shift yesterday btw my feet hurt like crazy along with my legs, got home, undressed for a shower and finally discovered a horrific blotches of red on my lower calves! My first thoughts were 'am i developing gangrene', and 'do i have a circulatory problem'. So i did a little research and i think i may have golfer's vasculitis.
The rash does not hurt, if anything it feels like a very minor 1st degree sunburn. It doesn't itch and there is no texture to the rash, no bumps just completely smooth like skin. It just looks like the rash is situated below a few layers of skin, almost like busted capillaries.
Went to doctors today and had blood test done, should get results back on tuesday.
He mentioned during the consultation that it may have something to do with my immune system attacking that area but he think's my circulatory system is safe.

Avatar universal
Ok, how many of you with this condition have anticentromere antibodies or scleroderma or dermatomyositis?
Avatar universal
Just back from a weeks' hiking in Poland where my husband and I both developed the red rash on lower, inner calf having walked for long periods on tarmac/asphalt in very hot, sunny weather (high 90's F).  We are both healthy, fit and in early 40's...and neither of us have never had this when walking before.  We went to a polish pharmacist who diagnosed straight away as caused by walking lots on tarmac and said it is very common in that region for hikers to get it (Zakopane).  She recommended calcium tablets (one dissolved in small bottle of water) twice a day and applying chestnut based cream as often as we liked.  1st day: it faded significantly and after 3 days the rash had all but disappeared.  Calcium was "Calcium Sandoz Forte"; Cream called "Esceven" (Hippocastani seminis extractum spissum + Heparinum natricum).  Hope this helps.
Avatar universal
I am a female golfer in my 50's living in western Canada, and have had this same rash as others for 10-15 yrs.  What I found helps is drinking a Gatorade/Powerade just as I begin my round....my conclusion is that in the hot, humid conditions when I sweat more than usual and am walking the course, I lose a fair amount of electrolytes.  This has worked quite well for me to either drastically minimize or eliminate the rashes.

Might be worth a try.
Avatar universal
Just return from a Mediterranean cruise where both my husband and I suffered from severe Golfer’s Vasculitis . Interesting enough I also had my first attack in 2010 in Copenhagen which was the first port of our Baltic cruise. I think the reason is that one tends to do much more walking during a cruise than with a coach tour. The higher humidity in coastal ports probably also has an effect.  I drank very little water while exploring the ports, because I wanted the water to last the whole day and WCs are sometimes difficult to locate. Will definitely try electrolytes and more water next time and see if that helps.    
Avatar universal
Hello, b12551, I have been reading this blog for a different reason and that is because I am wondering if some people who have ankle rash actually have another condition that has a characteristic ankle rash, familial Mediterranean fever (FMF). Most of the posts here do not look like FMF. FMF is a systemic inflammatory genetic disease that occurs as periodic "attacks" or episodes as you describe. It is usually found in people with some Mediterranean ancestry but the ancestral link is not always obvious. Another name for FMF is "periodic fever syndrome." From what you describe you could have that. Although it is a far more serious condition than golfer's vasculitis, in another sense it is preferable because it is very treatable with colchicine. In fact a colchicine trial is the gold standard diagnostic test for it. There is a Yahoo support group for FMF and I suggest you pop over for a discussion with some patients there to investigate this possibility. Very few doctors know anything about FMF so if you want to get some valuable information from people who know a lot about it - better start with patients who have it - a very helpful group. If you start googling FMF you might rule yourself out too soon. The authoritative medical sources define the condition more narrowly than the varied characteristics of actual patients in the "real world." Hope this is helpful.  
Avatar universal
My legs look just like yours...this is second time I've gotten this...they fade to a 'suntan brown' but they're still spots not even....contributing factor..walked some on Friday when in 90's(last week was 90+ all week and humid) then more walking at home in evening(not for fun, had a water leak) then gardening Saturday am when high80's..no socks, i was barefoot or sandals, noticed later in day...usually drink plenty of water so that  shouldn't be a factor and don't  add salt to food.....no pain, just a tightness and really red spots...I'm in upper Midwest USA thanks for the input....didn't find this forum before tonight..
Avatar universal
I came back from a long walk today (7 hours) walking on concrete in San Francisco with dark pink blotchy patches on my lower legs above the sock line.  I did some online checking and this has been my first outbreak of GV.  I am 48, female, average build and of Irish descent.  I also don't do that kind of strenuous exercise for extended periods on a regular basis.  It was 85*F and sunny where I live.

Based on the information on this thread and my own experience, I do think that heat/core temperature and physical stress on the lower extremities are huge factors in bringing on this condition.  I have never had this before, and today, while walking, I was wearing a heavy cotton sweater (for City fog/wind) and wasn't overly hot until I missed the bus from the train station and had to walk another 45 minutes home in the blazing sun (after walking 6 hours previously).  I became somewhat overheated on that last bit of the walk and was sweaty. Due to the heaviness of my sweater (and jeans) my sweat wasn't able to evaporate and cool me off as I walked.  When I got home, I peeled my clothes off to cool down and found the splotchy rash.   It faded substantially overnight and is now nearly gone 15 hours later.  I am hoping that this is a one time thing for me and that it doesn't get worse as it has with others.  It's good to know what others are doing to treat/avoid this unsightly rash.

Thanks for sharing!
Avatar universal
My legs look just like your pictures. This is the 2nd time I've had this, and it seems for me to be related to long periods of walking in the heat. I've been training for a 3 Day 60 mile breast cancer walk in San Diego. We've been walking at the beach where it's cooler than where I live, but was 85 degrees there yesterday and we walked for 5 1/2 hours (18 miles) and even though I wear sunscreen and reapply, I got this rash on my lower legs as well as what I think is prickly heat on my upper legs (the rash on the upper legs was raised and is almost gone now).
Background: I'm fair-skinned, of Irish and French Canadian descent and 57. Have been walking 4 times a week for months now, and on weekends we walk anywhere from 13 to 18 miles. Last weekend we walked 16/16/13, 3 days in a row and I didn't get the rash...but, it wasn't near as hot as it was yesterday, so I think for me the heat is a big factor. The rash sure is ugly and looks alarming and would love to find a way to prevent it!
Avatar universal
I have been working professionally as a Mountain and Expedition Leader for the last 12 years travelling extensively with small and large groups all over the world trekking in areas such as - Sahara, Costa Rica, Peru, Jordan, Everest Base Camp, Annapurna circuit etc. The condition 'Golfer's Vasculitus' has for many years been evident within a small section of my groups  (20%) and will always start above the sock line and can gravitate and cover the whole of the legs and buttocks. It does seem to generally affect persons and more often women over the age of 45. Hot weather and high humidity does seem to exacerbate the condition and only when the trekking is over does the affect dissipate. Hope this helps. I am often accompanied by Expedition Doctors and it is obvious that the condition is not that well known by Clinicians. The subject is definitely worthy of further research.
Avatar universal
Thanks for your input.  

Yes, it's not well known by doctors, not even vascular specialists.   A couple of weeks ago I saw a vascular physician's assistant for a check-up with regard to venous insufficiency, and asked her about it.   She'd never heard of it.     One of my two other friends who suffers from it asked her dermatologist, and he'd never heard of it either.    

When I go back for a follow-up with the vascular PA, I'm going to take a copy of this page just so she doesn't think I was making it up.



A number of patients presented with an erythematous, purpuric rash occurring on the legs in association with playing golf and also after prolonged walks or hikes. Many patients believed that it was an allergic reaction to grasses or insecticides and had sometimes undergone extensive allergy testing. We collected reports of 17 such cases from dermatologists in the state of Victoria, Australia. Patients were interviewed by phone and asked to submit photographs of the rash if possible. Of these, the eruption developed in 15 after playing 18 holes of golf and in three following prolonged hikes. The rash would usually develop over the summer months under hot conditions. Most patients were over 50 years of age when the tendency to develop the eruption began. Biopsies of the rash in the active phase showed leukocytoclastic vasculitis. Patch testing and investigations for potential underlying causes for vasculitis were negative or unremarkable. It would seem that this is a common but poorly documented condition. The clinical presentation and histology would support the conclusion that it represents a leukocytoclastic vasculitis induced by prolonged exercise under hot conditions. The findings would suggest that it occurs in healthy people and extensive investigation with blood tests or allergy testing is inappropriate. We believe the condition should be termed 'golfer's vasculitis', as golf appears to be the most common precipitating event and such a term would enable the condition to become more widely recognized.
Avatar universal
I am 46, of Scottish decent, and have had this for probably 3 - 4 years now.  I am so thankful for everyone's posts.  I get this rash in the heat every time we walk at Disneyland.  On one occasion, I could barely walk to the car at the end of the day.  I was wearing flip flops but it was a very warm day.  I also got it this last time when I wore thermals and warm socks and my legs were nice and toasty.  On one of my more recent trips this past summer, I made a point to sit for a bit and ice my legs.  This seemed to help lessen the flair-up a bit.  I have purchased some Zyflammend from Sprouts.  I used it once or twice but forget to start taking it in advance of our trip.  The time I remembered, I think it helped some but I need to try to it again.  Thank you all for posting as my doctor just thought it was a reaction to an allergen.
Avatar universal
Is there a way to post our personal pics on here to share?
Avatar universal
You can post photos on another site and post links to it here.   I think someone who used to be on this thread posted this shot to Picasa.

Avatar universal
This looks like the answer to me. Golf courses are sprayed with fertilizers and that is, I think, what bring on this condition. Those who walk at Disneyland have common denominator: Water. I suspect the water has been treated with chemicals of some sort.
Mine too appeared after hours on the driving range. I got into connect with the sprinkler water a few times. Hot humid conditions.
Avatar universal
Sorry, it has nothing to do with fertilizers.   Many of us get it hiking as well.
922670 tn?1259435960
No, it's not related to chemicals, etc. People get it by walking for too long in warm European cities, walking on hot Arizona sidewalks (where there are no chemicals since there is no grass), or wearing too-warm clothing (see thermals above).
Avatar universal
My rash is much like HikerLady's.  12 hours in the car, salty snacks, 12 hours of walking and standing at Disney World, Scots/English woman age 63.  Bright red mottled swollen skin on inside of ankles over the sock level. NO itching or pain but the affected skin was hot to the touch and really ugly.  It was only 75 degrees F, but it's winter and we drove from the north. 2 days later it is much better despite another 12 hours in the car and no treatment.  I was on Aleve, which I will be careful with in the future in case it helped trigger this.  I hope this will not cramp my future trips to Disney.  I've been there many times for longer stays with no ill effects, since 1971. Interesting! Thanks to all for stories.
Avatar universal
I got GV a few months after I developed a minor case of lymphedema in my left leg.  I only get it on my left leg after too much activity.  I take Horse Chestnut Seed Extract twice a day and I'm able to handle a lot more activity without the rash appearing.  Now when I get a GV rash it's only a faint pink in a few spots and it goes away overnight.  No tingling, no pain unlike what's associated with a severe breakout.  I highly recommend Horse Chestnut Seed Extract.  I've tried a lot of other inflammatory herbal supplements but Horse Chestnut Seed works consistently well.
Have an Answer?
Top Dermatology Answerers
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Learn to identify and prevent bites from summer’s most common pests.
Doctors argue for legislation to curb this dangerous teen trend in the latest Missouri Medicine report.
10 ways to keep your skin healthy all winter long
How to get rid of lumpy fat on your arms, hips, thighs and bottom
Diet “do’s” and “don’ts” for healthy, radiant skin.
Images of rashes caused by common skin conditions