Herpes Hominis
Photo: CDC/ Dr. K. L. Hermann, 1966

Herpes on legs is caused by the herpes simplex virus. Herpes on legs is less common compared to herpetic whitlow or whitlow which are lesions caused by the herpes simplex virus that occurs on the toes, fingers or on the cuticles of the nail. Herpes whitlow may be due to HSV-1 or HSV-2 and is commonly an infection of health workers who contract the illness from handling infected patients.

Another possible cause of herpes on legs is direct skin to skin contact which is the hallmark of herpes gladiatorum. This type of herpes is the most infectious since it is transmissible by skin to skin contact. It is a skin infection that is commonly associated with contact sports such as wrestling as well as using unsanitary gym equipment. It can also be called herpes rugbiorum, wrestler’s herpes or mat pox. Lesions may appear on the legs and the trunk.

Symptoms of herpes on legs

Neonatal Herpes
This image depicts the right foot of an infant born with a herpes simplex infection, known as neonatal herpes, which had manifested itself through the development of maculopapular lesions of the foot’s heal and sole.
Photo: CDC

The hallmark flu-like symptoms are common in the initial stages of the illness with the patient having moderate to high fevers, colds and inflamed lymph nodes. Lesions appear as small patches of rashes filled with fluid-filled blisters that are found on the legs, chest, neck and stomach. When these fluid-filled blisters burst, the fluid may infect other people or even self –infect other areas of the body and multiply elsewhere. Herpes on legs last up to few weeks.

There are two classifications of herpes on legs; primary or recurrent infections. In a primary infection, lesions completely heal without leaving any scars however, the virus is will in the body and remains until it can find an opportunity to reactivate. Recurring infections are less severe but may recur after several weeks to after a month.

Treatments of herpes on legs

Anti-viral medications are used to treat herpes on legs. Medications such as Acyclovir may also be taken orally to prevent an outbreak of infection. Here are some ways to treat symptoms of herpes on legs:

· Treat fever with fever medications; increase the patient’s fluid intake to prevent dehydration. Dress him comfortably and loosely taking special consideration areas of the body that has the lesions.

· Treat headache with OTC medications or cold compress.

· Wash lesions with water and soap; take care not to scratch or press on the blisters. Pat dry with soft towel or cloth.

· Wear non constricting clothing to reduce friction on lesions. Do not pick or scratch lesions. If you come in contact with secretions from blisters, wash your hands with warm water and soap.

· Increase the patient’s resistance by eating healthy foods and taking supplements.

An important aspect of treating herpes on legs is hygiene. Prevent contacting this skin infection from skin to skin contact and using dirty gym equipment. Never borrow clothing and footwear since this is the fastest way to spread the illness. Infected people should exercise caution and care not to spread the illness to anyone. Seek help right away to prevent spread of the virus and severe complications like skin infections.


  1. Bonnie

    My mother was told she has Winslow. She had the shingles a few months ago. Does stress cause Winslow Is this this same herpes that is on genitals. Why would my 73 ur old mother get it. She is extremely a clean person.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *