Everybody gains and loses weight differently, which can be frustrating for individuals who want to lose weight in specific problem areas. For example, if the majority of your excess weight seems to lie in your thighs and buttocks, you may feel a bit jealous of those who weigh more than you, yet somehow have skinny legs and a small behind. On the other hand, if you like wearing tank tops but feel self-conscious about your arms, you might feel upset about the fact that you’ve lost weight everywhere else except your upper arms, which have come to resemble batwings.
“Cankles” is another common problem area for many people. “Cankles” is the urban, contemporary term used to describe unusually thick ankles, or ankles that lack definition to the point where they look like part of your calves. You may feel that your ankles look unsightly and unattractive, or find that it’s difficult to wear boots and other shoes that extend past your ankles.
However, it’s important to know that cankles aren’t always caused by weight gain, though weight gain is often a factor. Check out these five effective ways to get rid of your cankles.
1. Lose weight
This step may seem like a no-brainer, but losing weight through diet and exercise are the best steps to take if you want to get rid of cankles. In most cases, cankles occur due to gravity pulling down fat stores toward the ankles and calves, especially if you’re often on your feet working, shopping, or doing housework. Try doing more exercises that specifically target your calf muscles, such as running, jumping rope, or doing sets of jumping jacks.
2. Prevent fluid retention
If your body is retaining water for any reason, your ankles will be one of the first places that become swollen and bloated. Fluid retention can be caused by excess sodium intake, pregnancy, or even prescription medications. Start drinking more water to flush sodium and other waste out of your body, and ease up on the sodium in your diet by eliminating processed foods. In the meantime, wear compression socks, which can help relieve swelling.
3. Switch medications
Prescription medications such as antidepressants, hormone therapies (birth control, hormone replacement therapy), and blood pressure medicines have been found to contribute to swelling in the ankles, according to data presented by the National Institutes of Health. Think about when you first started noticing your cankles. If that date coincides with the time you started taking a new prescription medication, talk to your health care provider as soon as possible to see if there’s an alternate treatment for your condition that won’t result in swollen ankles.
4. Get screened for illness
Certain health conditions can trigger fluid retention and swelling in the ankles, such as kidney disease, blood clots, and liver failure. If you’ve been experiencing symptoms such as nausea, shortness of breath, fatigue, and changes in your urination patterns, make an appointment with your doctor immediately. Your doctor can perform an examination to determine whether any illnesses are the cause behind your cankles.
5. Consider your genetics
While you can’t exactly change your genetics, you can find out whether genetics are the underlying cause of your cankles. Does one of your parents have exceptionally thick ankles? Some individuals are born with large ankle joints or small calf muscles, both of which are factors that can make your ankles look unusually thick. If it’s determined that your cankles are genetic, spend more time in your workouts focusing on exercises that strengthen your calves to minimize the appearance of your cankles as best as possible.