Why You Have Cankles and 7 Tips to Help You Deal With Them

year ago

Merriam-Webster defines cankle as a wide or thick ankle that appears indistinguishable from the lower calf. But while many of us think of cankles as an unattractive feature, in reality, cankles can also be a symptom of serious health conditions.

Bright Side has collected some tips on how to deal with cankles caused by different reasons. Check them carefully and remember that each case requires a specific approach, so if you have any concerns about your cankles, consult a professional.

7. Do more leg exercises.

Cause: obesity.

Unfortunately, your body can easily accumulate excess fat in this area. If you have a couple of extra pounds, your cankles might be just a result of an unhealthy diet and a sedentary lifestyle. Bearing in mind that cankles can be caused by much more serious reasons, losing stubborn leg fat is probably the most positive scenario with an easy-to-achieve result.

What to do: Adopt a new workout plan and try to make it a habit. Although there is no workout routine that will help you shed fat exactly from the cankles, there are a lot of effective leg and calf exercises you can try.

6. Try to avoid sodium.

Cause: water retention.

Although our body needs sodium to help our brain function and to maintain a fluid balance and blood volume, we only need a certain amount of it. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 2,300 mg a day and an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 mg per day for most adults. However, on average, we consume about 3,300 mg of sodium per day. As a result, our bodies retain water because there’s too much sodium in our system.

What to do: Avoiding salt is not the only thing you can do to maintain the recommended level of sodium. Since we get too much of it from processed food, like chips, canned food, soft drinks, etc., try to cut down on these types of foods, as well. Also, reducing sodium should be accompanied by a diet that is rich in potassium.

5. Legs up!

Cause: pregnancy.

The reason behind swollen ankles during pregnancy is that your body retains more fluid to meet your baby’s needs. But from all the possible reasons for having cankles, this one is the most enjoyable one, isn’t it? Yes, sometimes pregnancy makes your legs look like you’ve borrowed them from an elephant, but there’s no need to worry because these cankles are only temporary, just like all other pregnancy-related “side effects.”

What to do: Patiently wait for one of the happiest days of your life to come. In the meantime, you can cut down on salt (but not on water) and also try raising your swollen feet 8 to 10 inches above your heart for 10-15 minutes, several times a day.

4. Wear compression stockings.

Cause: vascular disease.

People who suffer from vascular diseases or chronic venous disorders, often report swelling as one of the most common symptoms.

What to do: to find out if you really have this disease, the first thing to do is to consult a professional. Apart from their prescriptions, try wearing graduated compression stockings to help blood flow upward toward the heart instead of downward to the feet. Raising your legs above the heart may also help.

3. Drink natural diuretic fluids.

Cause: fluid retention.

Consisting of 70% water, your body is very serious about keeping the right amount of fluids to ensure all the systems work fine. But there are a lot of causes that change the balance and your body tries to store water from the waist down. Such causes include kidney and heart problems, pregnancy, lack of physical activity, side effects of medications, and more.

What to do: if your cankles are caused by water retention, you should see your doctor about the exact reason. Also, you can try these natural diuretic drinks to help your body flush excess fluids — dandelion tea, green tea, and parsley tea.

2. Embrace the beauty of your body.

Cause: genetic disposition.

Believe it or not, sometimes it all comes down to genes. If your grandmother and your mother had the exact same problem, you’ll just have to deal with this problem and come up with your own solutions and tricks. Or better yet, don’t look at cankles as a problem.

What to do: Make sure your situation is not related to any of the health conditions that may cause cankles. You can try all the suggested tricks and find your own way of dealing with cankles. An active lifestyle, a healthy diet plan, and a positive mindset are your best friends when it comes to embracing the real beauty of your body. However, if you’re very serious about getting rid of genetically inherited cankles, your doctor can suggest more invasive methods.

1. Pay attention to your medications.

Cause: diseases (kidney disease, heart failure, a blood clot or a blockage in the lymphatic system, etc.)

If you look closely at your medications, you may find out that at least one them has swelling on its list of possible side effects. Especially pills for kidney and heart diseases. If you notice that your calves suddenly merged with your ankles, chances are that it’s your medication that’s to blame.

What to do: If a prescribed medication works for you, then you shouldn’t experience any negative effects. So, if your legs started to swell soon after you start taking your pills, consult your doctor immediately because in many cases, swelling can indicate some serious health conditions that you shouldn’t try to cure yourself.


If you don’t have any serious health conditions and you think there’s no need to change anything about your body except for the calf-ankle area, we have a couple of smart tips for you. The main point here is simply to distract the attention away from your legs.

  • You can accentuate your neckline and your face by tasteful makeup, jewelry, and other accessories.
  • When choosing dresses and skirts, opt for the full skirts.
  • As for the shoes, keep in mind that stiletto heels put too much contrast between the leg and the shoe. Also, you need to avoid ankle straps and flat shoes. Better go with the pointy toe as they visually elongate the leg.
  • Try some clothing tricks to draw attention to your best features.

Have you or your friends ever come across the problem of cankles? If you have, share your stories and tips in the comments.

Please note: This article was updated in July 2022 to correct source material and factual inaccuracies.
Preview photo credit Depositphotos.com


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