What Are Cankles? And How To Get Rid Of Them

Wondering what are cankles and how to get rid of them? The term cankles is a word combination of ankle and calf.

The term cankles was made up to illustrate the appearance of a missing ankle, which by definition forms when the natural rejuvenation of the calf and ankle is removed due to the excessive accumulation of fat cells and fluid accumulation in the ankle.

What Causes Cankles?

Cankles are caused by genetic influences on the distribution of fat in the body can predetermine the likelihood of cankles developing.

Weight gain due to diet or pregnancy can cause nodules to form due to an enlargement of the fat cells in the ankles.

Nodules can also form due to weight gain and fluid retention, even if they are slimmed down through healthy eating habits and moderate exercise.

Changes in medication can also affect fluid retention in the body and cause swelling in the calves and ankles.

Edema is a swelling condition when excess water is trapped in the tissue. Edema is related to other conditions such as heart failure, kidney disease, liver disease, medications, and pregnancy.

Cankles caused by pregnancy
Cankles are common during pregnancy.

How To Get Rid Of Cankles

You can get rid of cankles by changing your diet. Foods with high fiber, green leafy vegetables, and lean proteins are recommended to help the whole body stay healthy.

In addition to healthy eating habits, exercise aimed at the leg and calf muscles can also prevent the development of cankles.

Regular exercise and diet can reduce fat deposits, especially if prone to this type of body structure. The following are a few exercises that can prevent fat from accumulating around the ankles:

  • rope jumping
  • calf lifts
  • squats
  • lunges

Many people who cannot reduce their obesity through a healthy diet and exercise suffer from lipoedema, a disease that causes excess fat accumulation in the legs, abdomen, and arms.

Lipoedema most commonly affects women. The most common treatment of Lipoedema is manual lymphatic drainage. Other treatments for cankles depend on whether or not you have an underlying health condition.

Ask your doctor about other signs and symptoms and whether you notice unusual irregularities in your ankles or calves.

Weight Loss

If you are overweight or obese, losing weight is the best way to reduce cankles. If you stick to a balanced diet and a consistent exercise program, you will begin to see results.

When you start a weight loss program, remember to start with a reasonable goal. Rapid corrections and crash diets will only deliver short-term results because you are more likely to binge eat, become discouraged, and put the weight back on.

If you’re not ready to invest the time and energy into a comprehensive diet and exercise program, you may be a good candidate for lipostructure treatment.

reducing cankles with diet

Cankles Exercises

Simple exercises you do daily can help increase blood flow to your legs and shape your muscles, reducing the appearance of cankles.

The good news is that you don’t even have to sweat and go to the gym to do many exercises that can reduce cankles. Here are a few exercises you can do while cooking dinner or folding laundry to get into shape and have lean legs.


Walking is a great exercise to get rid of your cankles, and it is especially good for people with weaker knee and ankle joints.

Walking improves blood circulation in the legs and helps build calf muscles. You can track your progress to keep you motivated with a fitness tracker or pedometer to monitor your step count.

walking to get rid of cankles

Calf Lift

If your fitness level is low, you can hold a stable surface for support, for example, a chair, table, or kitchen countertop.

From a standing position, lift your heels off the ground so that you stand on the pads of your feet.

This move extends and contracts your calf muscles, making them flexible and strong. You can hold some light weights in your hands to increase the intensity.

exercize to treat cankles

Stair Calf Lift

You’re making the same movement as a Calf Lift for this exercise but on a stair. By using the stair, you can go deeper and extend the calf more.

Find your balance on the edge of the stair, with the heel of the foot hanging over the stair and the flat pads of your feet on the stair.

exercize to treat cankles

Seated Calf Lift

Again, this exercise makes the same movement as a Calf Lift but while you’re seated.

This exercise is good for people with limited mobility, spinal injuries, or the elderly. You can place a light weight on your thighs to increase the intensity.

Lunge Calf Lift

This one is slightly different. Stand in a lunge position, with both knees at 90-degree angles. Do the same movement as the Calf Lift on the front foot.

This exercise is more challenging as you have to balance more. Use a weight to increase the intensity and hold it close to your chest.

exercize to treat cankles

Jumping Rope

Jumping rope is great for cardio and weight loss and stretching out those calf muscles.

Keep your elbows close to your body while you jump over the rope, and jump only on the balls of your feet. Aim to keep the heels of your feet off the ground the whole time.


Plyometrics is also known as jump training. These exercises focus on giving the muscles a short burst of force.

The goal of Plyometrics is to increase power. Exercises include squat jumps, jumping lunges, and box jumps. Also, rope jumping, climbing stairs, and jogging work well.

If you are healthy, vigorous and intensive cardiovascular training can help shape your lower legs. But activities that target the calf muscles offer the greatest benefits.

Liposuction (Lipostructure) Treatment

One of the most effective methods to get rid of the cankles is targeted liposuction.

This treatment of cankles involves liposculpture techniques to remove excess fat to better define the calves and ankles. It is a question of making two cuts in the target area, not one in a long line.

One of the cuts is made on the outside of the leg, the other on the inside at the junction of the calf and ankle. Then, the surgeon will insert a small tube called a cannula to loosen the fat deposits.

The surgeon injects a local anesthetic solution into the fatty tissue, so you do not feel any pain.

Adults who reach about 30 percent of their ideal body weight and have firm, elastic skin are the best candidates for liposuction.

The excess fat is sucked off with a vacuum-like device. The aim is to reduce the size of the calf and make the lower leg appear slimmer. Your doctor will close the incision and cover the area with a compression bandage.

Cankle Liposuction Before and After
Cankle Liposuction – Before & After

Once you have ruled out any medical problems, you may wonder if getting rid of the cankles is possible.

The calf and ankle are two of the hardest parts of the body to model, so we recommend you choose a doctor who is experienced and specializes in this type of treatment.

If additional fatty tissue in the ankles causes pain that prevents you from walking, your doctor may advise liposuction treatment.

It is a simple, minimally invasive procedure that eliminates fat cells resistant to diet and exercise.

Remember that liposuction is not an obesity treatment nor a substitute for proper diet or exercise. It is also not an effective way to remove cellulite or loose skin.

Most patients can return home the same day and are encouraged to walk the next day. Rarely will you be asked to stay overnight. You may have to ask someone to drive you home after the procedure.

Swelling of the legs is normal after the procedure. You must wear a compression dressing for the first week to minimize swelling.

The pain usually dissolves quickly and can be treated with over-the-counter painkillers such as Paracetamol (Tylenol) and Ibuprofen. Liposuction results on the ankle are permanent as long as you maintain your weight and fitness level.

Healthy Diet

A healthy diet is another way of getting rid of cankles; below are a few options to consider.

Water Retention

Despite a healthy diet, cankles can be caused by diet-related swelling. For example, if you eat a high-sodium diet, you retain water in your body. You may notice water retention in the ankle area.

Natural herbs such as parsley can help reduce water weight, and you can eat less processed foods that add excessive salt to your diet.

If you eat a starchy or sugary diet, you will retain more water. If you balance your micronutrients with sufficient protein, healthy fats, and nutrient-rich carbohydrates, your legs may slimmer when you lose water.

old man with cankles

Eat More Vegetables

Halve your meat portion or double the number of vegetables on your plate.

Fiber from vegetables helps you feel fuller for longer, so you will eat fewer snacks after a meal. You can also reduce your salt intake by reducing the amount of meat you eat.

Reduce Saturated Fat And High-Fat Foods

Fat provides about 9 calories per gram. Carbohydrates and protein provide about 4 calories per gram. In addition, many foods that are very rich in saturated fat are also rich in sodium.

If you reduce the amount of fat, butter, and cheese in your diet, you will reduce calories and lose weight. Fried foods are a good example of this. They are rich in saturated fat, sodium, and saturated fatty acids.

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