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Red Spots on the Ankles After Exercising

author image Rose Erickson
Rose Erickson has been a professional writer since 2010. She specializes in fitness, parenting, beauty, health, nutrition and saving money, and writes for several online publications including The Krazy Coupon Lady. She is also a novelist and a mother of three.
Red Spots on the Ankles After Exercising
Exercising in heavy socks can trigger red ankle spots. Photo Credit Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images

Red spots on the ankles following your exercise routine can be irritating, especially if they are accompanied by other bothersome symptoms. Recurrent ankle rashes can affect your exercise routine, preventing you from finishing your workout and discouraging you from future exercise. In addition, red spots that are left untreated can result in permanent scaring and skin thickening.


Red spots on your ankles can vary from small to large. Besides the ankles, they can occur on other areas of the body such as the hands, feet, knees and face. The bumps can blister over and ooze a yellow, red or clear fluid when scratched. The skin on the ankles can become inflamed and thick, resembling the texture of leather. Additional symptoms can include lack of sweating, intense itching, a tingling or prickling sensation, raw skin and crusting of the skin.

Possible Triggers

Irritant contact dermatitis, which can occur when your ankles rub against your shoes, socks or irritating fabric while exercising, can cause red spots to develop on your ankles during exercise. Heavy socks or tight shoes can trap moisture against your ankles and feet, resulting in heat rash. In addition, red spots can be the result of an allergic reaction caused by consuming an allergen prior to your workout or coming into contact with irritating substances such as poison ivy while exercising. Exercising can also worsen skin conditions such as eczema, which can trigger spots and itching on your ankle area.

Lifestyle Treatments

Wash any sweat off your ankles with cool water and allow them to air dry. Apply an oil-free, perfume-free and alcohol-free ointment like petroleum jelly or a moisturizing lotion to your ankles up to three times per day. If you suspect allergies, swallow an antihistamine prior to your workout, especially if exercising outdoors. Run a humidifier when exercising indoors to help moisten the air and reduce skin irritation.


Wear light, cotton socks and clothing while exercising, especially in hot weather. Stay away from clothing and socks made of harsh and heavy fabrics like wool. Do not use heavy ointments or lotions because they can clog your pores and trigger red spots on your ankles. Exercise indoors in a room with adequate air circulation -- run a fan or air conditioner if needed. Do not wash your clothing in harsh or strong detergents, which can trigger skin irritation when exercising.

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