Welsh wound Innovation Centre

Eczema of the Leg (ankle to knee)


What is Eczema of the Leg (ankle to knee)?

Eczema (also known as dermatitis) is a dry skin condition. It is a highly individual condition which varies from person to person, and comes in many forms. It is not contagious, so you cannot catch it from someone else.

In mild cases of eczema, the skin is dry, scaly red and itchy. In more severe cases, there may be weeping, crusting and bleeding. Constant scratching causes the skin to split and bleed, and also leaves it open to infection.

What treatment will I receive?

Maintaining moisturised skin with the use of emollients is the key approach for managing eczema.


Emollients are medical moisturisers used to maintain the moisture of the skin, and help prevent itching. Emollients may take the form of creams, ointment, gels or lotions. The application of an emollient varies and will depend on which ingredient or ingredients an individual responds to.

Emollients for washing, cleansing and moisturising are essential to a good skin care routine for treating and preventing dry and itchy skin.

TOPical Steroids

Topical steroids are used in short treatment bursts and should be used in conjunction with emollients. They are typically used to bring eczema under control, when the skin is sore, red and itchy.

What can I do to aid healing and prevent recurrence?

  • The most important factor is the use of emollients, as this adds water, and prevents loss of moisture. Use emollients regularly 4-5 times a day, if possible
  • Apply plenty of emollients in a downward motion, knee to toe
  • Do not use bubble bath or any perfumed products, and keep water tepid.
  • After bathing for no longer than 20 minutes PAT skin dry with a clean towel. Do not rub the skin.

​The British Association of Dermatologists have produced a comprehensive range of patient information leafelts. To access a copy of the leaflet for venous eczema, please click here.


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