Cankles – Can You Get Rid Of Them? How And When? 2023

No one thinks that cankles are beautiful. And sometimes they feel like an ailment. In more cases than not, they feel like the only factor harming the look of your beautiful feet. You can’t dress up or show your feet in public.

Your ankles keep attracting people’s attention whenever you dare to expose them. And this attraction is in no way welcomed.

This condition also makes you worried about your health. Is there something inherently wrong with your feet? You want to know why liquids and fats keep accumulating in your feet.

How can you get rid of cankles? This question often wakes you up at three in the morning.

Let’s begin with understanding the condition and its causes. This knowledge might help you find the solution.

What Are Cankles


The word cankles may sound like a sophisticated medical term but it’s not. Contrarily, it is just slang that combines the words calf and ankles.

The combo is termed as such because in this condition these two parts of the leg are mingled in a non-differentiable single body part.

When you have cankles, you cannot tell where the ankles are because the fat cells and liquids from the calves hide these parts.

It usually happens when liquid gets retained at ankles or if fats accumulate there. The causes of liquid or fat cells gathering here are many.

What Causes Cankles

If you enjoy optimal health, you shouldn’t have cankles. Certain factors can affect the blood vessels at your feet to cause swelling.



If you are in the third trimester of pregnancy, it’s normal for you to get fat ankles.
During pregnancy, the nutritional needs of the womb and fetus increase gradually.

This calls for increased blood volume in the body. A pregnant woman has 50% more blood in her body than a non-pregnant woman would have.

This excess fluid gathers in tissues and joints thus softening them. At the same time, this accumulated blood may cause swelling.

If you witness this swelling in the third trimester of the pregnancy, don’t panic. It’s a temporary symptom that will relieve after childbirth.

Keep in mind that you should be concerned if this symptom is accompanied by shortness of breath, blood pressure, and dizzy spells.

In that case, you might be suffering from preeclampsia that can be dangerous for your child.

Obesity And Genetics

Obesity And Genetics

Obesity is another reason that can make your feet swollen.

Genetics is another reason that can result in the accumulation of fat at your ankles.

If some people in your family have cankles and this symptom for them, and neither for you, is not supported by underlying diseases, know that your cankles are hereditary.

Illnesses And Injuries


A foot injury can also result in leaking of blood vessels that, in turn, would cause cankles.

Lipedema is a rare cause of fat cankles. This condition leads to fat accumulation in at hips, thighs, calves, and upper arms.

Varicose veins often arise as a by-product of pregnancy and lead to the weakening of blood vessels allowing them to gather in ankles and feet.

Liver cirrhosis is another underlying condition that leads to the weakening of blood vessels and swelling of extremities.

If your cankles resulted from fluid retention, you should also check for kidney issues. When kidneys fail to drain out excess fluid, it leaks into the bloodstream causing swelling in the body.

Lymphedema is another rarely quoted reason for swollen ankles. It is damage to the lymphatic system that prevents drainage of lymph into the bloodstream.

Congestive heart failure is a life-threatening condition that can give cankles as its first sign.

When the heart becomes weak, it pumps slowly leading to liquids building up in the lower body.

If you experience a sudden appearance of cankles with shortness of breath, get emergency medical care.

Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) is another serious health condition that can cause swelling of the legs and feet.

It happens when a blood clot is lodged in deep veins of the body. Mostly, this condition happens in one of the legs.



This symptom can also manifest as an aftermath of certain medications. If you are taking medicine to regulate blood pressure or sugar levels, check the labels to know if ankle swelling is an expected side-effect.

Temporary Symptom

Temporary Symptom

Other than these health conditions, cankles can also result from elongated air travel. In such cases, the swelling should relieve as soon as you resume activity after landing off.

Should Cankles Concern You?

Should Cankles Concern You

Cankles is not a medical issue on its own. However, in most cases, it is a symptom that tells about a serious condition you might be suffering from.

If this swelling can be justified by genetics or a known health condition, there is no reason for you to worry about it.

But if you don’t know the reason that’s causing it, you should get checked for each of the possible causes to minimize risks to your health.

Yet, it may disturb you because of its appearance. If the cause behind this symptom is treatable, for the sake of your health, you should get it treated.

But if the cause is not treatable – for example, if it’s genetic or if it’s arising from the chronic ailment – you should try to make peace with it.

Making peace with this condition is not the easiest thing you would do. But you can adapt to it with some changes in your clothing styles as well as mindset shifts.

How to Get Rid Of Cankles

The first step towards getting skinny cankles is knowing the cause behind them. If you are looking for quick fixes, know that in most cases, these fixes will not work.

The only cases when cankle surgery would work is when it has arisen out of hereditary conditions or weight issues.

Interestingly, if the issue is arising out of a weight problem, you have more solutions to undertake than just surgery.

You can do calf slimming exercises to tone down your calf muscles and get rid of excess fat in them.

Spot reduction is another technique that will help you reduce fat cells that have gathered at the ankles. But the success rate of this technique is not yet validated by research.

If the condition is arising because of underlying medical causes, you wouldn’t want to treat the symptom alone. Rather, the best route is to get rid of the disease.

So if DVT is the issue, you should get immediate help from the doctors to deal with a lodged clot.

If the condition is resulting from lipedema or lymphedema, the treatment options include massage and exercise.

In the case of lymphedema, unfortunately, you may not get rid of the issue completely and would rely on lifestyle changes to keep the swelling under control.

For chronic medical conditions such as kidney disease or liver cirrhosis, you have not much choice about the appearance of your legs.

You may resort to surgery in those conditions only if your doctor approves of such a procedure.

The success and longevity of the positive result of these procedures, however, are not guaranteed.

Note that the highest success rate of getting rid of this swelling arises when you have gotten it because of obesity.

Although exercise and dieting are the leading strategies you can use to get rid of excess fat, you may get positive results from cankles surgery.

Still, you would like to burn fats in all other body parts as well to prevent cankles from developing again.

If you get cankles in pregnancy, there is nothing much you can do about it. The weakened blood vessels will keep your feet swollen for most weeks in the last trimester. The good news is that you would experience quick relief after giving birth.

You also wouldn’t want to treat cankles that happen during long flights. But if this swelling is accompanied by shortness of breath, you should seek emergency medical help.

Take Away

Your concerns are growing as is the frequency of you getting cankles. Previously, you used to ask, ‘Why are my calves so big?’

Now this question is changed and you are more concerned about the fat covering your ankles.

How and why did this fat grow so much that it started covering your ankles? Can you do anything to get rid of this swelling?

These are some questions you ask whenever you look at your feet. This article covers everything you need to know about cankles.

Personal Care Truth
Personal Care Truth is your trusted source for evidence-based information on personal care and wellness. A dedicate health advocate who is passionate about empowering individuals to make informed choices when it comes to their personal care.



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