Getting a Leg up on the Diagnosis


Three years ago, lesions began appearing on this now 68-year-old woman’s legs. They have grown in size and number, and their roughness disturbs the patient. She has been told the lesions are related to aging, but she has never seen anything like them on her friends or family—and she is worried about what they might mean for her health.

Her primary care provider diagnosed warts and performed cryotherapy on several of the lesions. However, the pain was intolerable and the treatment ineffective. To add insult to injury, each treated spot blistered and took more than a month to heal, leaving behind a pinkish brown blemish.

In all other respects, the patient’s health is excellent.

Both legs, from the upper thighs to the tops of the feet, are covered with thousands of uniformly distributed, tiny, keratotic, rough, dry papules. All the lesions are essentially identical: white, with no associated signs of inflammation. The patient’s skin is quite dry in general. Neither her palms nor soles are affected.

Rough lesions on leg

What’s the diagnosis?


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