Do you see your shapely calf merging with your graceful ankles to become an unsightly condition in the form of cankles? This can be a serious condition that affects women of all shapes and sizes. You should not leave this hardening of the skin and tissues causing deformed ankles undiagnosed or untreated.

What Are Cankles?

Many women hesitate in wearing gladiator style heels and sandals because of unshapely ankles. However, cankles are more than just a cosmetic condition. Podiatrists peg the average size of an adult woman’s ankles at 10 to 11 inches around. They term the lack of a clear distinction between ankles and calf muscles as cankles.

The American Podiatric Medical Association does not consider cankles to be a medical term. Additionally, it does not yet qualify this condition as being medical. However, this condition can be the indicator of other underlying health conditions serious. Hence, you should not brush it off as a mere cosmetic condition. It is important that you understand the root cause of this ankle condition.

What Causes Them?

Generally, this condition does not signify a major health issue. In fact, the major causes include weight gain, age, and obesity. However, if you have developed these in a short period of time then you need to get a thorough body checkup done. It might result from some underlying symptom.

Anatomy of the Ankle

Many people believe that only added weight can cause this condition. However, this could not be farther from the truth. Your ankles are made of thick bone on the inside and a thin bone on the outside. These bones are then wrapped up with tendons to help you move around. When the fat cells around the ankles get swollen, it results in a thickness around the base and towards the top. This thickness can cause your calf muscles to appear merged with your ankles.

Fluid Retention

fluid retention feet

If you consume a diet high in sodium and salt, then you can suffer from fluid retention. The chances of this further increase if your diet is low in proteins. Fluid retention can cause the fat cells around your ankles to swell. This in turn leads to your ankles to swell diminishing the distinction from your calf muscles.
If you feel your swollen ankles are because of a poor diet then it is important that you cut down on the salt and processed meat in your diet. For proteins, you should go for fresh cuts and not the salted versions. Additionally, include more salads and fruits in your diet. Make sure that the dressings you use are low in sodium content.

There are many other reasons apart from a poor diet that can cause fluid retention around your ankles. For instance, during pregnancy, many women suffer from swollen ankles. Also, hormonal changes in your body can cause fluid retention. Hormone fluctuations are most rampant during a woman’s menstrual cycle. These fluctuations can cause engorging of ankles as instead of the fluid being drained away, they get stores in the tissues.

A good way to help with swollen ankles because of pregnancy or hormone changes is to incorporate mild exercises in your routine. It is also important that you do not stand on your feet for long stretches. Apart from this, keeping your feet elevated while resting also helps the fluid to dissipate.


dna strand

Fat ankles can occur because of your gene pool. Your genetics decide the areas in which fat is stored in your body. Many times even with the best workouts you might not be able to get rid of these fat deposits. Fat deposits make your ankles appear swollen. Additionally, these tend to retain water and other fluids. A major reason for engorged ankles is poor circulation. Hence, ensure that you add simple exercises to your daily workout.

If you are suffering from this condition due to your genetics, then getting a liposuction might be a good idea. However, many times workouts also help. Most experts believe that 10 minutes of using a jump rope every day can help you recover from swollen ankles. However, sometimes pain accompanies swollen ankles and exercising becomes unthinkable. For such cases, ankle liposuctions are the solution. These are cost-effective treatments that maintain the integrity of your ankles.

Obesity and Medications

medicine and meter

Weight gain is not limited to fat deposits in the arms, thighs or tummy. It affects your ankles as well. Excess fat deposits around the ankles mean excessive fluid retention. In fact, if you are extremely overweight then your ankle conditions might be the result of only fat deposits.

There are many medications that can cause fluid retention in your body and around the ankles. These medications include contraceptive pills, blood pressure medicines, and anti-depressants.

Health Implications and Concerns

Your body is an interlinked mass of organs, tissue, nerves, and cells. A condition in some part of the body might be an indicator of an ailment in another part. Your ankles might be an indicator of serious health conditions such as heart failure or kidney issues. It is important that you get a health checkup done in such situations.

using a BP cuff to take blood pressure reading

However, you can also conduct a quick test to understand whether you have any serious ailments. A ‘Pitting Edema’ test is a quick at-home test that can help you ascertain the presence of health conditions. Generally, your skin returns to its normal condition after you press on it within 1-2 seconds. However, when the dent on your ankle skin does not go away even after 5 seconds, it could be an indicator of kidney and heart issues. Other conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, lymphedema. can also cause this ankle issue.

Long-Term Treatment Options

If your cankles are not the result of some underlying serious health condition, then it can be treated in various ways.

  • Exercise
woman running in the sunset

It is important that you exercise for a minimum of 10 minutes each day in order to ensure that there are no fat deposit buildups in your legs and ankles. You can also prevent fluid retention with regular work-outs. There are a number of stretching exercises that you can do in case your swollen ankles cause pain.
You can also make exercising fun by joining a dance class or signing up for aerobics. By maintaining an active lifestyle you can ensure that your ankles do not deposit fat.

  • Right Diet
food on the table

The major cause of fat ankles is a build-up of sodium in your diet. With the right food options, you can get rid of fluid retention and fatty tissues in your ankles. Make sure you include a lot of vegetables and fruits in your diet. It is important that you get your daily protein intake through unprocessed options.

  • Surgery
surgery instruments

If regular methods to get rid of this problem does not work, then it might be time for you to think of getting ankle liposuction. It is a cost-effective and simple method to get rid of this condition.

Creative Solutions to Minimize Cankles

There are many concerns related to hiding and treating this condition that women face on a daily basis. Some ways to hide and treat this condition are:

  • Tea
cup of tea

They term parsley and green tea as the best natural diuretics. These teas can help in removing the excess fluid build-up in your body by making you urinate frequently. In addition, there are many other benefits of drinking green or parsley tea.

  • Jump Rope
man jumping rope

It is impossible to remove fat deposits from your ankles without cosmetic surgery. However, it is possible to tone and shape your calf muscles to make your ankles appear smaller. 10 minutes of skipping each day can tone the muscles around your calf to the extent that it over-shadows your ankle condition.

This is a quick solution and should not be used often. However, it is a good way to make your ankles seem smaller if you are dressing up for the night. Hemorrhoid cream can temporarily tighten the skin around your ankles and give a firmer appearance.

  • Shoes
woman with polka dots shoes

It is no secret that long heels and pointy shoes make your legs look longer than they are. This can be achieved by wearing nude color shoes as well. You can also try over the knee boots to hide your condition while appearing slim.

  • Clothes
man wearing pants

Pants make you look slim. However, trousers that reach to your calf will draw more attention to your ankles. The same goes for calf-length skirts.



Cankles can be due to a serious health condition. However, when they are not indicators of a major underlying health issue, then they are a cosmetic blimp. Many women suffer from confidence issues as they cannot wear clothes or footwear of their choice. However, with a few easy options, you can get rid of this condition. Exercise and a good diet are two of the easiest approaches to get rid of this ankle condition. Additionally, you can also get an ankle liposuction surgery done if you want a simpler and quicker method of getting rid of cankles.


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Last update on 2021-09-24 at 21:56 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API