What is this knee rash?
November 18, 2010 6:32 PM   Subscribe

I have a rash (or something) behind my knee. It's been there for about a month. Gross rash pictures inside!

I know you are not my doctor, but for another 5 or so weeks without health insurance, no one is. And I want to see how much I should be worrying about this thing that refuses to go away. Here it is.

It's not too bothersome. I tend to forget about it a lot. It itches when I think about it. It's slightly raised - you can kind of see that in the blurry picture - and there are two small red bumps - which you can see in the first picture - higher up my thigh. The big red raised thing kind of dissipates into a flat red color further down my calf (you can kind of see this in the first photo).

Any clue what this could be? I'm gonna make an appointment as soon as I can. Can it wait a few more weeks?
posted by MPnonot3 to Health & Fitness (15 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Response by poster: I should add that I don't have any other real health problems save for an infected belly button (!) about 2 and a half months ago. I was on antibiotics for about a week. Outside of that, I take no medication.

Thanks in advance!
posted by MPnonot3 at 6:39 PM on November 18, 2010

Sounds like Eczema. I used to get it behind both my knees every winter. It will go away on its own after a while, in the meantime Cortisone helps with the itching.
posted by nikkorizz at 6:43 PM on November 18, 2010

That looks like eczema to me. I used to get it behind my knees, super annoying but applying topical creams is pretty effective, as well as keeping the area as dry as possible.
posted by Wantok at 6:43 PM on November 18, 2010

Talcum powder works well to keep things dry. Which is good advice, at least until you can see a doctor.
posted by dfriedman at 6:52 PM on November 18, 2010

My daughter used to have mild-moderate eczema in patches all over her legs, and I liked to put Weleda Skin Food and Florasone on it. I was trying to avoid steriods/cortisone and got good results from these (applying florasone first, then the Skin Food).

I am very well aware that Florasone is homeopathic and therefore firmly in woo territory, but I feel we got good results from it. The Skin Food is a little greasy, but smells heavenly (herbal) and is great for all kinds of dry skin/roughness (elbows, heels, winter hands, etc.).
posted by jeoc at 6:53 PM on November 18, 2010

I had something that looked very similar, itched, was in the same place. In my case it was a fungal rash. I believe I used over the counter lamisil or some similar fungal cream to deal with it.
posted by acanthous at 6:56 PM on November 18, 2010

When I was in second grade, I got a ring-shaped rash behind my knee, which started to spread up my leg and turned out to be Lyme disease. Since they caught it quickly, I never really had any other symptoms. I have a friend who had to deal with it for years, and it hasn't entirely gone away for her.

So if it were me, I'd try to get it checked out sooner rather than later, just in case it turned out to be some sort of problem that would benefit from being treated sooner. I take that back - if it were me, I'd deal with it when I got insurance. If it were an ideal me, I'd get it checked out, though. Are there any clinics for uninsured people in your area?
posted by aniola at 7:01 PM on November 18, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks to everyone so far.

I don't think its lyme disease. I live in Chicago and don't know the last time I've been in the woods (last summer?).

But having grown up in south jersey, I do know how serious lyme disease can be. One of my friends too ended up in pretty bad shape. Hospital for weeks, problems for years.

It probably wouldn't hurt to have it checked out at a clinic would it.
posted by MPnonot3 at 7:16 PM on November 18, 2010

I' developed eczema as a very young child and never grew out of it. I'd have it checked out by a doctor, because there are really effective ointments and stuff to treat it. Cortisone has never been effective for me, but getting a prescription for an appropriate steroid ointment improved my quality of life immensely.

In the meantime, take shorter, cooler showers to avoid drying out your skin and use an unscented moisturizer if it's really scaly and itchy. This is totally gross, but when my eczema is really bad, my doctor recommends that I rub Crisco into the irritated area immediately after getting out of the shower. The idea is to prevent the skin from losing moisture without irritating it further.
posted by easy, lucky, free at 7:52 PM on November 18, 2010

My daughter used to get that all the time. Desonide (a steroid cream) would fix it right up. Since you need a prescription for that, try regular hydrocortisone. Also, using "Free and Clear" type detergent and unscented soaps, etc. helped prevent the rashes. It was always worse in winter, and always started on the backs of her knees. She's mostly outgrown it, but once it gets cold, she may get it again.

FWIW, she had a (different) weird rash once and the pediatrician said, "Put cortisone on it for a couple of weeks. If that doesn't work, try anti-fungals for a couple of weeks. That should do it." So, if you had insurance and went to my doctor, that's what you'd get.
posted by artychoke at 8:08 PM on November 18, 2010

looks like it might be fungal. good spot for a fungus, too-- warm and sorta moist.
posted by hollisimo at 9:56 PM on November 18, 2010

That last bit from artychoke is exactly what I would do.

Put cortisone on it for a couple of weeks. If that doesn't work, try anti-fungals for a couple of weeks.
posted by Foam Pants at 1:14 AM on November 19, 2010 [1 favorite]

Nthing fungal. Looks very very similar (although IANYD) to something I've had in the past. For me it was very itchy.

Lamisil got rid of it completely in just a couple of days.
posted by Hartham's Hugging Robots at 8:03 AM on November 19, 2010

Looks like eczema that may have gotten a fungal infection. See the doctor because if it's a fungus or ringworm, steroid creme may make it worse.
posted by tamitang at 4:33 PM on November 19, 2010

Is it that color before or after you scratch? Do you scratch it a lot?

I had some bad scratchy stuff for a while on the back of my knee. I cut the top off a diabetic sock and put it round my knee to keep my jeans from irritating it more.

Mine got worse because I scratched the hell out of it. It doesn't sound like you've got that going. Cortisone didn't work, Anti-fungals didn't work, but a combination of all of them did, plus some self taught behavioral changes.
posted by lysdexic at 5:44 AM on November 20, 2010

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