(Not a) Golfer’s Rash

From 4th grade on, I grew up in East Haven, Connecticut, about a mile from the New Haven Municipal Golf Course which played a significant part in my childhood.   When I was younger, its hills were the preferred place for sledding  and as I got older and acquired my own ice skates, its water hazards became the local skating rink.  It became a source of income, too.   The third hole, a par three, ran right along Granniss Street and in spite of a high fence, a fair percentage of golfers managed to slice the ball over the fence where we were waiting.  Sometimes we’d quickly find the ball and try to sell it back to the golfer who hit it, but more often we’d pretend not to know where it was so we could sell it at a higher price to the next foursome.  By Junior High I was standing with the other boys along the walk leading to the clubhouse, asking, Caddie, sir? to golfers on their way to the first tee.   I began to play too, at first sneaking onto the course with a few clubs after hours, later actually paying the greens fees with my money earned caddying.  I played sporadically (and erratically) through college and even played in a league at work for a while.  But when my wife Muri and I moved to California, I gave it up.   I haven’t played in about fifty years.

So, why this trip down memory lane?   At 76 I find myself prone to a rash that appears on my legs when I walk a lot in hot weather.  The first time it showed up it scared the heck out of me, and as I related in my post, Something Rash, it kind of scared my doctor, too, until it was diagnosed by biopsy as Golfer’s Rash, so named because it largely affects golfers in the summer.  Now shouldn’t I at least have the pleasure of playing the game if I’m going to have the official malady of the sport?  Yes, it is also called Disney Rash because people walking around at Disneyland are prone to getting it.   I don’t go there either but the rash  keeps reoccurring.  Go figure.

Of course, I’m being facetious.  Per healthline.comit’s caused by a combination of hot weather, sunlight exposure, and sudden, prolonged periods of walking or exercising outdoors and the medical name for the ailment is Exercise-Induced Vasculitis.   It’s not a rash at all, it’s an inflamation of small blood vessels in the legs. Swelling and discoloration can happen on one or both ankles and legs which can include large red patches, purple or red dots, and raised welts. It may itch, tingle, burn, or sting. It may also cause no physical sensation to happen.  EIV is typically confined to exposed skin and doesn’t occur under socks or stockings.  It’s not dangerous or contagious. It usually resolves on its own, around 10 days once you’re away from the conditions that brought it on.  All very reassuring until you find people avoiding you when you go out in shorts or Google other ailments that cause similar symptoms.

I suppose I’m lucky because mine doesn’t itch or hurt.  And I when noticed that it doesn’t appear below my sock line I bought several knee-high pair of compression socks on Amazon (a possible remedy also suggested by the Healthline article*).  They look and feel odd but seem to work.  So I’m walking again, rash-free, making me and my Fitbit happier.

* If you ever fine yourself with EIV, the article is here.

 

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