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Golfing is a good way to enjoy the warm sunshine and get some exercise. But what do you do when golfing causes uncomfortable symptoms due to golfer’s vasculitis?

Golfing is supposed to be an enjoyable way to spend your free time. After all, walking around for several hours can be pretty good exercise. But a bad drive or putt is not the only thing that may be annoying on the course. A medical condition known as golfer’s vasculitis can develop in golfers, especially those who are middle age and older. Understanding the condition, its cause, and how you can treat symptoms can help you stay in the game.

What Is Golfer’s Vasculitis?

Golfer’s vasculitis is a skin condition that is characterized by a red, blotchy rash that develops on the ankles and can spread up the leg. It can occur due to irritation after exercising in warm weather. Various forms of exercise can trigger the condition. But walking for extended periods of time in warm weather is often the cause, which is how it got the nickname — golfer’s vasculitis. According to the National Institute of Health, golfing seems to be the most common precipitating activity to developing the condition.  

There are several types of vasculitis and some are more serious than others. Because there are so many forms of the condition, it’s helpful to understand how golfer’s vasculitis differs from other types of vasculitis. 

Vasculitis is an inflammation of the blood vessels. It can involve the large or small blood vessels of the body. Depending on the cause, vasculitis can occur in various parts of the body including the eyes, joints and the aorta.  In some situations, vasculitis causes serious symptoms including restricting blood flow to organs and tissues in the body. Restricted blood flow can lead to tissue damage.

But if you are affected by golfer’s vasculitis, you can rest assured, it is not the same thing as other more serious types of vasculitis. Golfer’s vasculitis is classified as hypersensitive vasculitis or cutaneous vasculitis. It involves inflammation of the small blood vessels, but it only affects the skin.    

Causes Of Golfer’s Vasculitis

Researchers believe golfer’s vasculitis sometimes occurs after exercise due to a breakdown in the temperature regulation mechanism in the lower legs. Increased sweating results and the blood vessels become irritated, which can lead to a rash. 

People who tend to sweat a lot may be more prone to the condition. It also occurs more frequently in people over the age of 50. The condition may be more common with age due to decreased circulation that can occur. It’s important to understand that people who get this particular form of vasculitis are often healthy otherwise.

In most instances, the condition is not considered serious. Symptoms usually include a rash, which may itch, burn or sting. Some people also have swelling in the affected area. Addition symptoms that are present with other types of vasculitis, such as fever and fatigue, do not occur with golfer’s vasculitis.

The condition can usually be diagnosed by a dermatologist through a visual exam and medical history. 

In many cases, additional testing is not needed. But if allergies or other skin conditions are suspected, a skin biopsy may be needed. Allergy testing and laboratory work may also be recommended to rule out other conditions.  

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