What is mottled skin?


Mottled skin is a blotchy, purplish-red discoloration of the skin when someone is nearing end of life. It generally starts on the bottoms of the feet and toes, and progresses up the legs. It is also commonly seen on the knees, hands, and fingers.


This discoloration is due to the heart not being able to effectively pump the blood to those areas. The mottled extremity may also be cool to the touch and the extent of it can vary or come and go. Mottling is not painful. Not everyone experiences mottled skin at end of life, but when it is noted, it’s a strong indicator that the death is near.