“Cankle” is not exactly a medical term, nor is it a medical condition. Rather, it is a portmanteau of the words “calf” and “ankle”. If someone’s ankles look like their calves, you can imagine they are pretty thick.
Many people are facing problems with cankles today. There are several factors that can cause one to have thick and swollen ankles. If you want to find out more about this and how to get rid of cankles, just keep reading. We will try to tackle the cankle problem, explain the causes to it, and list the best solutions.
Who Can Be Affected?
You can tell on your own whether you have cankles or not just by looking at your calf and ankle sizes. The ankle area should be thinner than your calf. If they are equal in size, you know you have cankles.
Cankles are pretty common nowadays. The most commonly affected are people who are pregnant, overweight, or experiencing hormonal changes. It is also common if your ankles swell after sitting uncomfortably for a prolonged period. Finally, some medicine can cause swelling of the ankles, as well as some types of medical interventions.
What Causes Cankles?
Having calves and ankles of equal size can often be frustrating, not the least because they do not look appealing. Heck, only animals have legs of such proportions. Many women try to fix this because they want their bodies to be symmetrical and appealing. Contrary to popular belief, cankles can appear regardless of your body weight.
Here are some of the frequent factors which can contribute to the development of cankles:
- Excessive Weight Gain: Weight is distributed proportionally across the body and if you become overweight, your lower legs will be affected too. The stored fat is simply pulled down by gravity to where your ankles and calves are.
- Fluid Retention: We can simply call it bloating and it is also a common cause of swollen ankles. Most of the times this happens to pregnant women and those with heart conditions, the result of poor circulation which is most pronounced at the extremities. Another reason why your ankles may bloat up is sodium consumption because sodium makes your cells retain more water.
- Genetics: Sometimes, cankles are just a thing of genetics. You can be born with weak calf muscles and big ankle joints. If either of your parents has thick ankles, you are more likely to have them yourself.
- Illness: Cankles usually are not a cause for panic. However, liver failure, heart failure, blood clots, kidney disease, and other serious conditions can be directly connected to swollen ankles, because all these conditions may cause fluid retention.
- Medication: According to the National Institutes of Health, taking blood pressure medication, antidepressants, and hormone pills (e.g. birth control pills contain estrogen) can lead to swelling in the legs and ankles of some women.
How to Get Rid of Cankles
If your ankles are not swollen because of some of the aforementioned diseases or medication used, the problem might just be in you. But do not worry, we are about to spill some wisdom on how to get rid of cankles. We will give you advice on starting a healthy diet, which will lead to weight loss, and also some exercises for building lower body strength. Only if none of these work that you should explore medical interventions, such as liposuction.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
A healthy diet can truly do wonders for your body. If you have cankles, here are some ingredients that you should pay attention to. Large amounts of both salt and sugar are very bad for you.
High levels of sodium in your blood retain water which causes swelling. Try to avoid processed food as much as you can. Fried food is very bad as well. Mind your carb intake, and try to eat nutrient-rich food and avoid empty calories.
Eat a Lot of Vegetables
Eat more veggies and less meat. This way you will be eating less calories and salt and more fiber which makes you feel full and may help with digestion.
Some herbs like parsley can be used to fight water retention. It is very healthy because it contains vitamins C and A and antioxidants.
Lose Some Weight
In case you are overweight, weight loss will surely have an impact on your overall appearance, including your lower legs. Have in mind that weight loss cannot be completely targeted.
You can start losing weight by following the diet tips mentioned above. Do not use extreme diets as they are not sustainable. However, diet alone is not going to be enough and you will have to establish a workout routine.
Workout Routine Which Targets Your Calves
Simply start with walking, which is great for your calf muscles and circulation. As your calf muscles get more definition, your ankles will begin to look smaller in comparison. Still, walking is not enough, and neither is running. You need to add some resistance training into the mix.
Here are some of the best calf muscle exercises to help you battle cankles:
- Jumping rope: Do 5 sets of 1-minute jumping rope with breaks between sets of up to a minute. Make sure your elbows are close to the body and your heels are not touching the ground.
- Calf raises: Stand on the balls of your feet and lift your heels off the ground. Do 5 to 10 repetitions. As you get more comfortable, you can do this with weights of your choosing. There are many variations of this exercise which you can look up online.
Cankles can be very problematic, but with the aforementioned tips, you will stand a much better chance of dealing with them. Remember to keep improving your workout and diet routines, slowly and in accordance to your capabilities. If you do that, you will be able to overcome cankles by yourself without any medical treatment.
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