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Cankles are a pesky problem that many people suffer from, especially in the warmer months when clothing is less forgiving. But what are they, exactly? Cankles are caused by a build-up of fluid in the ankles and lower legs, which can be the result of many different things such as pregnancy, obesity or simply standing or sitting for long periods of time. There are several ways to get rid of cankles, including exercises that focus on fat reduction, calf and ankle muscles, as well as special cankle creams that help to break down the fat and fluid in the area. In addition, a healthy diet low in salt and rich in antioxidants will also help to reduce cankles.
What Are Cankles and Their Causes
The lower legs are made up of two major muscles, the calf, and ankle. Excess fat or fluid retention can build up in these areas and cause the lower leg to appear swollen and larger than normal. This is known as cankles, and it can be a cosmetic issue for many people.
There are also medical conditions and issues to be aware of too. Blood clots, for example, could cause cankles1. Water retention, also known as edema, can also cause the lower legs and ankles to swell. This could be the result of a dietary issue, such as eating too much salt, or a medical problem with the kidney or heart2.
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Cankles can also be caused by obesity. When there is excess weight gain, it can cause the skin to stretch and make the lower legs and ankles appear larger3. In some cases, liposuction may be recommended by a cosmetic surgeon to remove the excess fat in the ankle area.
The medical term for thick ankles is “ankle-brachial index”. A normal ratio should be around 1:1, meaning that the circumference of the ankles is about the same as the upper arm. If the ratio is above 1:1, this is an indication of cankles.
There are many different causes of cankles, and the exact cause will depend on the individual. In some cases, it could be a medical condition, such as edema or obesity. In other cases, it might be a lifestyle factor, such as standing or sitting for long periods of time. Here are some of the most common causes of cankles5:
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Water Retention: Water retention is a common cause of cankles, especially in women. This is because the body retains more water during certain times in the menstrual cycle. Water retention can also be caused by a high-sodium diet, as salt makes the body hold onto water.
Obesity: Obesity is another common cause of cankles. When there is excess weight, it can cause the skin to stretch and make the lower legs and ankles appear larger.
Pregnancy: Pregnancy is another common cause of cankles. This is because the extra weight gain can cause the skin to stretch and make the lower legs and ankles appear larger. In addition, pregnancy can also cause water retention, which can contribute to cankles.
Standing or Sitting for Long Periods of Time: Standing or sitting for long periods of time can also cause cankles. This is because gravity causes the blood to pool in the lower legs and ankles, which can lead to swelling.
The best way to determine the exact cause of cankles is to see a doctor. They will be able to rule out any medical problems and give you personalized medical treatments to help reduce cankles.
How To Get Rid Of Cankles
There are several treatments for cankles, and the best approach will depend on the underlying cause. If cankles are caused by water retention, then reducing salt intake and eating more diuretic foods, such as watermelon, cucumber, and cranberries, can help. Compression socks can also be worn to help reduce swelling.
If obesity is the cause of cankles, then weight loss through diet and simple exercises is the best approach. This will help to reduce the fat in the ankles and lower
There are many different ways to get rid of cankles, and the best approach will depend on the individual. In some cases, lifestyle changes, such as reducing salt intake or losing weight, maybe enough to reduce cankles. In other cases, more aggressive treatments, such as liposuction or ankle surgery, may be necessary. Here are some of the most common ways to get rid of cankles:
Blood circulation is essential for keeping the ankles healthy and free from swelling. Poor circulation often leads to cankles, as the blood pools in the lower legs and ankles6. If you live a sedentary lifestyle, then you may be at risk for poor circulation. To improve circulation, try to:
- avoid sitting for a long time without moving
- elevate your legs when you are sitting
- take regular breaks to walk around
You can also wear compression socks. Compression socks can ease the swelling of the ankles as well as help prevent and treat spider and varicose veins in the calf area. Venous insufficiency is a condition where the valves in your veins do not work properly, and compression socks can help to improve circulation and reduce fat cankles.
Weight Loss and Exercise
Exercise is one of the best ways to get rid of cankles. The lower body can easily hold onto excess fat, and this can lead to many health issues like kidney disease, liver failure, diabetes, heart failure7, and yes, the appearance of cankles. If you are overweight or obese, then losing weight through diet and regular exercise is the best approach for getting rid of cankles.
Depending on your body type, fat deposits in different areas. While some people may have large thighs, others may have a large waist or hips. This is why it’s important to focus on a workout routine that works for you but also one that you enjoy and continue to do on a regular basis. Exercise shouldn’t be seen as a troubleshooting tool but as a lifestyle instead as it offers many health benefits.
Aerobic exercises are the best type of exercise for cankles as they help to improve circulation, reduce swelling, and overall body weight. Depending on your weight and level of fitness, you can start with moderate exercise activities. As your fitness level improves, you can then increase the intensity of your workouts. Regular exercise will also help to tone the muscles in your lower body and give you stronger, healthier legs.
Some recommended exercises are:
- Walking – walking is an easy and enjoyable way to get started with exercising. If you are just starting out, then walk for 20-30 minutes a day, 3-5 times a week.
- Stationary Bike – riding a stationary bike is a great way to get your heart rate up without putting too much strain on your joints. Start with 10-15 minutes a day and gradually increase the time as you get more comfortable.
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- Jogging – jogging is a great way to get your heart rate up and burn calories. Start with 10-15 minutes a day and gradually increase the time as you get more comfortable.
- Elliptical Machine – the elliptical machine is a great way to get a full-body workout. Start with 10-15 minutes a day and gradually increase the time as you get more comfortable.
- Swimming – swimming is a great way to get a full-body workout without putting too much strain on your joints. Start with 10-15 minutes a day and gradually increase the time as you get more comfortable.
Related: 31 Fast and Effective At-Home Cardio Exercises
- Running – running is a great way to get your heart rate up and burn calories. Start with 20-30 minutes a day, 3-5 times a week.
- HIIT Workouts – HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) workouts are a great way to burn fat and tone muscle. HIIT workouts alternate between short periods of intense activity and recovery periods. For example, you can sprint for 30 seconds and then walk for 1 minute. Start with 10-15 minutes a day and gradually increase the time as you get more comfortable.
- Weight Training – weight training is a great way to tone muscle and improve strength. Start with 2-3 days per week and gradually increase the frequency as you get more comfortable.
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If you are interested in specific exercises that focus on fat in the thicker area of the lower leg try:
- stair calf raises
- lower-body resistance exercises
- leg press
- donkey calf raise
- seated calf raise
- calf raises while holding dumbbells
- squat jumps
In addition to exercise, diet is also an important factor in getting rid of cankles. There are many weight loss programs that offer great results, but it is important to find one that is sustainable for you and that you can stick with long-term. Avoid trying to crash diet as this will only lead to yo-yo dieting and can be harmful to your health.
It’s better to focus on having a balanced diet full of anti-inflammatory whole foods and lean protein. Avoid fast food and sugary foods as these can contribute to weight gain and inflammation.
Related: Why Anti-Inflammatory Foods Are So Important
When building a healthy diet consider this:
Healthy fat – contrary to popular belief, eating healthy fats doesn’t make you fat. In fact, healthy fats are essential for weight loss and help to reduce inflammation. Some good sources of healthy fat are avocados, olive oil, nuts, and seeds.
Fiber – fiber is an important part of any diet as it helps to keep you feeling full and satisfied after eating. Fiber also helps to regulate blood sugar levels and can reduce the risk of heart disease. Good sources of fiber include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes.
Protein – protein is an essential part of any diet as it helps to keep you feeling full and satisfied after eating. Protein also helps to build muscle and can be helpful for weight loss. Good sources of protein include lean meat, chicken, fish, tofu, legumes, and eggs.
Water – water is essential for good health and plays a key role in weight loss. Drinking enough water helps to flush out toxins and keeps your body hydrated and functioning properly. Aim to drink 8-10 glasses of water per day.
Natural herbs can also help to reduce cankles. The lymphatic system is responsible for carrying toxins and waste out of the body, and herbs can help to stimulate this system.
- Dandelion – dandelion root is one of the most effective herbs for cankles as it helps to cleanse the lymphatic system.
- Fenugreek – is a unique herb that has long been used in alternative medicine. It is thought to help with cankles by reducing inflammation and swelling.
- Ginger – is a well-known herb that has many health benefits. Ginger is stimulating and can help to increase circulation. It is also anti-inflammatory and can help to reduce swelling.
- Parsley – is another herb that can help to cleanse the lymphatic system and reduce swelling. It is also a diuretic, which means it can help to reduce water retention.
- Oregano – is an herb that is known for its strong anti-inflammatory properties. It can help to reduce swelling and pain in the ankles.
To get the maximum benefit from these herbs, it is best to take them in supplement form. You can also make a tea by adding one teaspoon of the herb to a cup of boiling water. Steep for 10 minutes and then drink.
Some of our favorite herbal supplements to stimulate circulation and reduce inflammation:
Turmeric Curcumin with BioPerine 1500mg
Natural Joint & Healthy Inflammatory Support with 95% Standardized Curcuminoids for Potency & Absorption
youth & Tonic Water Weight and Mineral Bundle
Water Weight Pills to Thin Waistline & Relief Belly Bloat Ankle & Leg Swelling + Electrolytes Support w/Potassium B6 VIT | Dandelion Natural Diuretic Supplement for Water Retention Loss
Mary Ruth’s Lymphatic Support Drops
The lymphatic system is a network of tissues and organs integral to our immune systems. It provides us with immune support through its T cells and B cells, cleanses the body’s fluid through its vast system of vessels and lymph nodes, and assists the body in fluid balance by removing excess fluid and other material from the tissues.
Herbs can be a great way to get rid of cankles, but there are a few things to keep in mind. Make sure to talk to your doctor before taking any supplements, as they can interact with medications you may be taking. Also, be sure to drink plenty of water to help flush the toxins out of your body.
Medical Cankle Treatment
Depending on the cause of the appearance of your cankles and overall health a doctor may suggest a different course of action.
- Lipedema – If you are diagnosed with lipedema, your doctor may suggest a combination of treatments including diet, exercise, compression garments, and surgery.
- Lymphedema – If you have lymphedema, your doctor will likely recommend a course of treatment that includes manual lymphatic drainage, compression therapy, and exercise.
- Venous Insufficiency – If you have venous insufficiency, your doctor may recommend compression stockings or surgery.
- Edema – If you have edema, your doctor may recommend diuretics, compression stockings, or surgery.
Cankle reduction surgery or cankle liposuction may be an option for some people. This is a serious decision that should not be taken lightly and you should consult with a board-certified plastic surgeon to see if this is the right option for you.
If you are suffering from edema, your doctor may prescribe medication to help reduce the swelling. This can be in the form of diuretics or water pills which help to expel excess fluid from your body. Your doctor may also recommend compression stockings to help reduce the swelling.
Cankles are often a cosmetic concern and there are many ways to get rid of them through diet and exercise. However, if the appearance of your cankles is due to a medical condition, it’s important to consult with your doctor to find the best course of treatment.
The best solutions to get rid of cankles may vary depending on the cause. If you are dealing with a medical condition that is causing your cankles, be sure to speak with your doctor about the best course of treatment. For cosmetic concerns, there are many options available to help reduce the appearance of cankles. A sensible diet and a great exercise routine are always good places to start. In addition, there are many herbs that can help to reduce cankles.