SynopsisCodesLook ForDiagnostic PearlsDifferential Diagnosis & PitfallsBest TestsManagement PearlsTherapyReferences

Information for Patients

View all Images (20)

Diabetic dermopathy
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed

Diabetic dermopathy

Contributors: Monica Rosales Santillan MD, Susan Burgin MD
Other Resources UpToDate PubMed


Diabetic dermopathy, commonly known as shin spots, is the most common cutaneous finding in patients with diabetes mellitus, presenting in up to 50% of diabetic patients. The etiology of diabetic dermopathy is unclear. Previously, ischemia had been thought to be a causative factor, but studies have found that blood flow to the dermopathy lesions was actually increased compared with other surrounding areas. Trauma is thought to be a causative factor.

There is no clear variation of incidence between diabetic dermopathy in patients with noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus versus those with insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. There is, however, a correlation between the presence of skin lesions and the presence of microangiopathic complications (retinal, neuropathic, and/or nephrogenic). Diabetic dermopathy appears to be a useful clinical finding for detection of these diabetic complications.

The incidence of diabetic dermopathy increases with age. It is typically seen in patients aged older than 50. Men show an increased incidence compared to women.

Although located bilaterally, the distribution of lesions is asymmetric. Lesions do not itch or cause pain. Poor long-term blood sugar control, which increases risk of diabetic microangiopathic complications, is seen in diabetic dermopathy. There is no correlation between diabetic dermopathy and obesity or hypertension.

Related topics: diabetes mellitus type 1, diabetes mellitus type 2


E13.620 – Other specified diabetes mellitus with diabetic dermatitis

238982009 – Dermopathy due to diabetes mellitus

Look For

Subscription Required

Diagnostic Pearls

Subscription Required

Differential Diagnosis & Pitfalls

To perform a comparison, select diagnoses from the classic differential

Subscription Required

Best Tests

Subscription Required

Management Pearls

Subscription Required


Subscription Required


Subscription Required

Last Reviewed:10/28/2019
Last Updated:03/12/2024
Copyright © 2024 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.
Patient Information for Diabetic dermopathy
Print E-Mail Images (20)
Contributors: Medical staff writer
Premium Feature
VisualDx Patient Handouts
Available in the Elite package
  • Improve treatment compliance
  • Reduce after-hours questions
  • Increase patient engagement and satisfaction
  • Written in clear, easy-to-understand language. No confusing jargon.
  • Available in English and Spanish
  • Print out or email directly to your patient
Copyright © 2024 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.
Diabetic dermopathy
A medical illustration showing key findings of Diabetic dermopathy : Hyperpigmented macules, Lower legs, Hyperpigmented patches
Clinical image of Diabetic dermopathy - imageId=47971. Click to open in gallery.  caption: 'Reddish-brown macules and patches, atrophic whitish plaques, and scattered crusts on the shins.'
Reddish-brown macules and patches, atrophic whitish plaques, and scattered crusts on the shins.
Copyright © 2024 VisualDx®. All rights reserved.