Discoid lupus erythematosus

Discoid lupus erythematosus

Chris Schach

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Key Points
* Also known as shin spots
* Affects 30 percent of those affected with diabetes
* characterized by light brown or reddish scaly patches
* Thought to result from trauma to the affected area

Diabetic dermopathy is also known as shin spots. As many as 30 percent of those affected with diabetes develop Diabetic Dermopathy, which is characterized by light brown or reddish, oval or round scaly patches. The patches occur most frequently on the shin. The same patches can occur in anyone, especially after an injury, but they most commonly affect those with diabetes. Even in diabetics, however, it is believed that Diabetic Dermopathy occurs in response to trauma involving heat, cold, or blunt objects.

Although the cause of Diabetic Dermopathy is not completely known, the causes are thought to be the same as those that cause foot ulcers in diabetics: Nerve damage or blood vessel complications. Diabetic Dermopathy is more likely to occur in older people, and especially those who have suffered from diabetes for one or two decades.


A medical professional can inspect the skin and diagnose Diabetic Dermopathy based on these symptoms: lesions, most frequently on the shins (though, they can also be found on the thighs, forearms, foot, scalp, and trunk). The lesions are round or oval, reddish-brown, scaly, and frequently occur in both shins. If multiple lesions of this type occur, it’s likely associated with diabetes.

* No treatment necessary

Fortunately, the shin sports are harmless and require no treatment. They will often disappear after a few years. Improved blood glucose control can speed their disappearance.