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Diabetic Dermopathy

Last reviewed by Dr. Raj MD on January 12th, 2022.

What is Diabetic Dermopathy?

This is a common skin condition that is found in diabetic people on their lower legs. The word dermopathy refers to all complications and skin problems that occur with diabetes. They are also referred to as pigmented pretibial patches or shin spots. Up to fifty percent of people with diabetes may have or have had diabetic dermopathy with it being more common in ones who have diabetes that is poorly controlled or have had diabetes for ten to twenty years and older than the age of sixty. They have appeared after an injury in people who do not have diabetes. Although it is more common after the age of sixty it can affect diabetics of any age, race, or sex. Although you find it primarily on the lower legs it can appear on your thighs, forearms, shins, and sides of your feet.

Diabetic Dermopathy Symptoms

Initially diabetic dermopathy will appear as patches that range in color from tan to dark brown or pink to red. Other symptoms you may have include:

  • The patches are usually slightly scaly.
  • They can be oval or round in shape.
  • The patches may become indented faintly if they are long-standing, which is called atrophic.
    There can be a number of these spots and will cover a big area.

Very seldom do these patches sting, itch, burn, become open sores, or hurt. In some people with diabetic dermopathy they look like age spots.


Diabetic dermopathy lesions will usually appear more often after trauma or an injury in the area where you see them the most but there is not specific reason. The reason is that this medical condition is all related to the blood vessels and nerve damage that happens when a person has diabetes. It is also thought to happen when there is minor leakage of blood products from the vessels into your skin and also there could be changes in the small blood vessels which supply the skin.


In time they will go away on their own but it may take a long time and they are harmless. The best thing that a person who has diabetes can do is prevent diabetic dermopathy from occurring by controlling your blood sugar. By controlling your blood sugar it will also help make them disappear. You can help to keep your blood sugar under control by eating a healthy well balanced diet. You should also make sure that you keep your skin moisturized, especially where the diabetic dermopathy is located and make sure that you do not injure the area. Although they are harmless you should let your physician look at them to make sure that they are diabetic dermopathy lesions.

Diabetic Dermopathy Pictures

Collection of pictures of Diabetic Dermopathy…

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