How To Get Rid Of Cankles – Diet & 6 Best Exercises

Reviewed by Gaelle Clement, Natural Health Practitioner
Written by Shaheen Naser

The portion of the leg where the ankle joins the calf without any distinguishing contour of the ankle is referred to as “cankles”. You may wish to get rid of cankles if you feel conscious about them while wearing short dresses, ankle-length trousers, or open shoes.

Cankles is not a medical term. After John Alexander’s character in Shallow Hal used the phrase “cankles,” it became popular. This was a word he used to describe a woman’s lower legs which looked swollen and merged.

It could be related to a huge ankle that you were born with or ankle edema. It is quite common to be born with large ankles, and in certain cases, the problem may be genetic. It is not a symptom of illness.

This article discusses some excellent exercises and additional tips to tone up your muscles and hence reduce the appearance of cankles. So, keep reading.

What Are Cankles?

The term “cankles” has surfaced from two words – “calf ” and “ankles.” Cankles is the term used to denote the fat and/or swollen ankles that merge unattractively with the flesh of the calves.

Cankles usually look short and are thick. The following are some of the possible causes of this development.

What Causes Cankles?

Cankles are believed to be caused by three major factors. They are:

  • Genetics: Most women who have cankles usually have a close family member with the same problem. If any of your parents have thick or overly sized ankles, you may develop the condition too.
  • Fluid Retention: Lifestyle choices like heavy intake of sodium can cause fluid retention in your body. This may lead to the development of cankles.
  • Pregnancy: Pregnancy is another common factor that can cause cankles. This is usually due to reduced or poor circulation in the lower extremities of a pregnant woman.

[ Read: How To Improve Blood Circulation Naturally ]

In addition to these causes, a sedentary lifestyle or accumulated fat can also contribute to worsening the appearance of cankles. Therefore, you must try the following exercises to tone your muscles.

How To Get Rid Of Cankles – Exercises

  1. Calf Raises
  2. Plie Squats
  3. Standing Toe Raises
  4. Seated Calf Raises
  5. Lunge Calf Raise
  6. Jumping Rope

Exercises To Get Rid Of Cankles

1. Calf Raises

Shutterstock

How To Do
  1. Start by standing on the edge of a step or a step-aerobics platform.
  2. Stand erect with your abdomen pulled in, and the balls of your feet firmly planted on the step while your heels hang in the air.
  3. Allow your hands to rest against a wall or any sturdy object for support.
  4. Raise your heels a little and stand on your toes.
  5. Hold this position for a few seconds and then lower your heels.
Repetitions

10

Sets

3

2. Plie Squats

Shutterstock

How To Do
  1. Stand with your feet wider than shoulder-width apart.
  2. Rest your arms at the side and point your toes out, making an angle.Your knees and toes should point in the same direction.
  3. Squat down in this position until your thighs are parallel to the ground.
  4. While lowering your body, raise your arms above your head.
  5. Pause and return to your initial position.
Repetitions

10-15

Sets

3

[ Read: Squats 101 – How To Do Squats Properly ]

3. Standing Toe Raises

Shutterstock

How To Do
  1. Stand by keeping your feet hip-width apart.
  2. Raise the balls of your feet until you feel the stretch from the balls of your feet to the butt.
  3. Go back to your initial position and repeat.
Repetitions

15

Sets

3

4. Seated Calf Raises

How To Do
  1. Sit on a sturdy chair that supports you well and is comfortable.
  2. Keep a phonebook or any other rectangular object 12 to 14 inches in front of the chair.
  3. This is so that your heels don’t make contact with the floor when you lower them.
  4. Keep your feet flat and hip-width apart.
  5. Place the balls of your feet on the phone book/rectangular object.
  6. Place the dumbbell two inches above your knee cap.
  7. Press down and lift your heels. Hold for a few seconds.
  8. Go back to the initial position.
Repetitions

10-15

Sets

3

5. Lunge Calf Raise

How To Do
  1. Put one of your legs forward and bend it without leaning forward.
  2. Run the other leg backward and stretch it a bit into a calf raise.
  3. Pause briefly and go back to the standing position.
  4. Repeat with the other leg.
Repetitions

15

Sets

3

Back To TOC

6. Jumping Rope

Shutterstock

How To Do
  1. Get hold of a jumping rope and size it according to your height, i.e., the handles of the jumping rope should come up to your armpits.
  2. Grip the handles loosely with your fingers for greater speed.
  3. Hold the rope together in front of you and then take it behind.
  4. Turn the rope over your head and catch it under your toes before you skip over it.
  5. Practice timing and correct movement as you keep making jumps.
Duration

5-10 minutes

[ Read: 14 Benefits Of Skipping Exercises ]

To make these exercises even more effective, you can follow the below tips and lifestyle changes that can help reduce the swelling in your ankles.

Simple Tips To Reduce Ankle Swelling

  1. Wear compression socks, but do not wear them to bed.
  2. Soak your feet in an Epsom salt bath every other day.
  3. Go swimming regularly.
  4. Practice yoga poses that require stretching.
  5. Keep a check on your weight.

Your diet choices also play a significant role when it comes to combating cankles. Listed below are some of the best diet tips that can help this condition.

Best Diet For Cankles

Those who have developed cankles must avoid certain foods and increase the intake of a few others.

What To Eat
What Not To Eat
  • High sodium foods like junk foods and canned (processed) foods
  • Alcohol
  • Saturated fats like butter, cream, ghee, and cheese

Once you start following a healthy diet and lifestyle, remember that patience is key. You will see a noticeable difference in the appearance of cankles in no time.

Cankles are usually seen in women due to genetics, fluid retention, or pregnancy. With the above exercises and tips on how to get rid of cankles, you may now be able to deal with them better. While the gentle stretches and exercises can help improve their appearance and reduce fluid retention, modifying your diet to avoid highly salty and sugary food is also important. While surgical options like liposuction can also help, it’s best to include the above exercises and diet changes in your workout and wellness routine to manage cankles better.

Frequently Asked Questions

When to see the doctor for cankles?

If there is no difference in your cankles despite exercising regularly and following a healthy diet, it is best to visit a doctor to see what could be causing it. You can also consult a doctor if you are looking for surgical options to treat your condition.

What causes water retention in ankles?

Water retention in the ankles can be caused by various factors like a kidney/liver disease, obesity, standing or sitting for too long, pregnancy, or even varicose veins.

When should I undergo a surgery for cankles?

If diet and exercise have no effect on the appearance of your cankles, you can consult a medical practitioner to look at the possibility of surgery.

How long does it take to reduce cankles?

If you are following a healthy diet and exercising regularly, you will start noticing a difference in the appearance of your cankles in a few weeks.

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Gaelle Clement

(Natural Health Practitioner)
Gaelle is an international health practitioner currently based in Krasnodar, Russia. She is passionate about helping people of all genders... more

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