A 15-year-old boy was brought by his mother because of concerns about “lesions” on the back. The adolescent’s teammates on the high school cross-country team were teasing him about being “whipped or beaten” by his parents.
Key point: These classic linear, wide-mouthed, red to purple, atrophic patches are classic for stretch marks (striae distensae). The patient was in the middle of his growth spurt.
Treatment: No treatment is medically required because spontaneous improvement is expected. However, cosmetic and psychological benefit may be derived from laser therapy, using one of several machines that can lessen the red.
Note: Striae are primarily a problem of pregnancy but can be found on the abdomen, thighs, and back during adolescent growth.