What Are Cankles And How To Prevent It From Spreading?

Cankles is the combination of word calf and muscles. It is the condition of swollen feet or edema commonly seen in women of any age group.

What Are Cankles And How To Prevent It From Spreading?

Dec 17, 2022

Do you have swollen ankles that become problematic for you?

Cankles are not a new medical condition among people. The majority of women in the US face this problem every day. According to the WHO, around 35% of people experience swelling in different body parts. However, there is also disbelief among people that fat ankles are a sign of being overweight. 

But the truth is that this problem can occur even in an underweight person. There are various reasons why fat ankles occur, mainly in women. This post will share complete information about cankles and how to prevent them from spreading. Get ready to know some unknown truths and facts about your swollen ankles. 

Meaning Of Cankles

First thing first, what are cankles or calf muscles? This is the first question that comes to every person's mind regarding this term. As we provide you with a hint in the form of swollen muscles, do you need the exact cankles meaning?

In simple words, cankles come from "Calf" and "Ankle." It is the swollen part of the ankle that looks different from the lower calf. The problem of the calf ankle is commonly seen among females. It is a bump part that arises due to the surrounding of the adipose tissue around the soleus tendon. As a result, women have difficulty wearing sandals and leggings. It also causes difficulty in walking properly.

Images Of Cankles

Cankles before and after image

It is easier to understand this problem by seeing the cankles pictures. Even when you search this term, the first thing you expect us to show is the images. The majority of medical experts analyze this ankle problem with physical touch. It is common to get confused about whether you have cankles or just normal swelling on your feet.

What Are The Causes Of Cankles?

So, you have cankles and don't know the main cause behind them. Various factors cause the problem of swollen ankles among women. Some of the popular ones are genetics and various health conditions. We will discuss the major cause behind getting fat on the ankles below:

Genetic Problems

The primary cause of having cankles is genetic problems. Like any other physical behavior, our genes also reflect the changes in the leg muscles. Women who have larger bones, muscles, and tendons face the problems of swollen ankles. Another thing to remember with genetics is family history. If your family member had a problem with fat ankles in the past, you have a higher probability of having it. 


Like any other problem, having cankles during pregnancy is common. During the 4-6, most women face swelling in the lower legs and ankles. However, it is not essential that you also notice it. 

During the pregnancy, your body gathers the energy for the unborn baby. So, having changes in it is common that can reflect in the form of fat on ankles or lower legs. If you notice it, consult your doctor or medical expert urgently.

Insufficient Venous

It is a condition when the valves inside the veins cannot circulate the blood to the heart. As a result, the flow of blood leaks in the backward direction. Due to this, it deposits in the lower legs and ankles. When we don't have sufficient venous, it may cause the problem of cankles.


Lymphedema is a condition in which the body's lymphatic system is blocked or damaged due to an overflow of fluid. When the liquid or fluid accumulates in the tissues, it creates swelling in the lower part of the body. 

In fact, famous celebrity also faces the issue of swollen ankles. During an interview, she told the reason behind it. The major cause behind Wendy William's cankles is lymphedema. When not treated on time, it may also cause serious conditions in the future.

Side Effects Of Medications

Cankles may also cause due to the side effects of various medications. As we know, every medication has its negative effects on the body. Women who take birth control pills, steroids, anti-depressants, and hormone drugs have higher chances of getting swollen ankles. You need to take the medication after proper consultation with your doctor.

Some of the other causes of getting swollen the ankles could be the following:

  • Cirrhosis (Issues in the liver)
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Lipedema (Chronic disease that leads to accumulation of fat)
  • Body infections
  • Diabetes
  • Cellulitis

How Do You Know If You Have Cankles?

Fat ankle is a common problem that is mostly seen in women. Most people see this swelling as the merging of calves and ankles. So, the question is, how to know if you have cankles(fat ankles)?

There is a simple way by which you can tell the difference between normal swelling and cankles. It looks like cylindrical shape fat revolves around the lower legs and ankle. If your calves and ankle appear to merge into the undefined column, then you have cankles. The legs look lumpy when you don't have a natural breaking point between the calf and ankle. 

However, it is essential to reach a doctor to know the exact reason behind the bumpy ankles. One of the major problems this type of swelling causes is body shame. Women feel insecure while wearing sandals and short dresses and often hide their swollen legs.

What Are The Common Signs Of Having Cankles?

The above information helps you check the swelling by physical method. There are various common signs of cankles by which you can confirm this medical condition. One of the major reasons behind it is the blood deficiency in veins. We mentioned the venous insufficiency above, which can be the possible cause of fat ankles.

If you carefully see the cankles before and after image, you will find the major difference between the size of the legs and ankles. The following are signs of having fat ankles:

  • Swelling on lower legs and ankles
  • Frequent pain in ankles while moving 
  • Increase in thickness of legs and ankles
  • Change in color of the skin around the ankles
  • Blood clothing around the lower legs.

Does Vitamin D3 Cause Cankles?

When there is a deficiency of vitamin D3 in the body, it causes various problems. According to the research, an insufficient amount of vitamins is linked with skeletal disorders. As a result, people feel pain in the neck, back, and leg muscles. If we talk about cankles, there could be a lower amount of vitamin D3 in the body. 

But no clear study shows that it is the primary cause of swollen comes over ankles.

Vitamin D3 is the form of D that is also known as Cholecalciferol. It is produced in the skin as a response to the radiation of ultraviolet B. Vitamin D3 has less metabolize as compared to the other vitamin. 

Some people may also find muscle pain swollen around the ankles. However, the probability of getting cankles due to a deficiency of vitamin D3 also depends on your body's current level of vitamins.

When Do Cankles Appear During Pregnancy?

One of the most asked questions by women is when cankles can appear during pregnancy. First, you need to understand that in some cases, pregnant women don't get swelling in their feet. An expert study reveals that most women get the cankles in the third quarter of pregnancy. 

However, it can start during the early months and remains until you give birth to the child. Only one out of five women don't get swelling on the ankle during pregnancy. The next question you may ask is, what causes cankles during pregnancy?

In simple words, swelling occurs when the fluid in the body increases to nurture the baby. When it stores in a large amount, some parts accumulate in the lower legs and ankles.

It is the outcome of the increased blood flow and the pressure of the growing uterus. When the uterus grows during pregnancy, it exerts pressure on the pelvic veins and vena. Due to this, most women notice swollen ankles during the 3-6 months of pregnancy.

Are Cankles Dangerous Or Kill A Person?

Can swollen ankles be dangerous and takes my life? It is the question most people ask when encountering the cankles for the first time. Various experts believe the swelling can go after some time and not produce a dangerous problem. But we should also remember that painfully swollen feet can make your life drastically.

If we talk about whether cankles can kill a person, it is not proven till now. However, when the swelling reaches other body parts, it can create serious conditions in the future. It is important to reach out to a medical expert for advice. In a few cases, swelling doesn't go away easily.

How To Get Rid Of Cankles Without Going To Doctor?

Do you want to get rid of cankles without going to the doctor?

You can cure skinny cankles at home by following a simple diet and exercise. We will share simple tips to get back your slim legs. Here are the well-researched tips that may help you get relief from swollen feet:

Swim Regularly

Are you a swimmer who loves to spend time in the pool?

Then, your swimming passion can help you get rid of cankles. When you swim for a certain period, the internal blood flows faster. 

With the blood flow, various veins and tissues come in contact. As a result, the swelling on the ankles reduces. However, you will see the result when you swim regularly.

Take Salt Bath

There are many advantages of taking a salt bath for the body. One of them is relieving pain and swelling. Various feet patches are available in the market that shows incredible results. It is advised to take a salt bath every day to cure cankles.

Use Compression Socks

Wearing compression socks on the swelling ankles can bring great relief you. These socks are specifically designed to apply pressure to the lower legs. It helps our body maintain blood flow in the body. Wearing them during the day help in reducing swelling and discomfort. Furthermore, it is recommended not to wear compression socks while going to bed.

Go On A Walk Every Day

Taking a long walk every day is also helpful in treating cankles. Initially, it can be painful to go a larger distance with swollen ankles. The reason behind this is to allow blood circulation in the lower legs. When the circulation of blood increases, it builds up the calf muscles. So, we recommend you go for a walk each morning.

Eat A Proper Diet

The right diet is essential to keep the body in shape. It is also true with cankles. People who are overweight often have swelling ankles. You can easily get back your slim feet by modifying your diet plan. 

All you have to do is to replace the meat with green veggies. Eat fiber, whole grains, and proteins. On the other hand, avoid some saturated fats, alcohol, and junk foods at any cost.

Proven Exercises For Cankles: Expert-Tested Ways To Reduce Swelling On Ankles)

No one can deny that regular exercise can cure 90% of health problems as each person has weight, height, and body shape characteristics. Like cankles, people also have stress rash on their lower legs which causes itchiness. 

One of the simple ways to reduce the swelling in ankles is to do calf exercises. Here are some of the proven exercises for bumpy cankles:

1- Raise your Calf With Weight

Weighted Calf raised

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The primary exercise for cankles is calf raises. It is simple and can be performed easily. In this exercise, you use the weight and raise it with the support of both your feet's toes. To perform this exercise, you will need dumbbells, barbells, or kettlebells.

Steps To Follow:

  • First of all, stand straight by holding a weight in both of your hands.
  • Keep your shoulder apart and relaxed.
  • Shift your body weight to your ankles.
  • Put your weight down and push your body upward by raising your heels.
  • Perform it at least 10-15 times by keeping weight in hand.

2- Calf Raises By Sitting

Seated Raised Calf

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The next exercise for cankles is seated calf raises. During this, the calves adjusted to different positions and increased their mobility. To perform this exercise, you need a dumbbell, weight plate, sandbag, or barbell.

Steps To Follow

  • Put the weights on your thighs and sit on the balanced chair.
  • Now, push the weight in the upward direction by using your toes. Lift your heel from the ground and put pressure on your toes.
  • Hold it for the moment and bring it back to the previous position.
  • Keep control of your motion with weight.
  • Repeat the steps at least 20-25 times.

3- Calf Raises By Using Stair


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During this exercise for cankles, you have to use the stair to raise the calf. By doing it, the strength and mobility of muscles increase. You will need a stair drop of 5-6 inches and weight to perform this exercise.

Steps To Follow

  • Firstly, stand straight with the weight of your feet and ankles on the stair drop.
  • Pull the weight down and push the body in an upward direction.
  • Use your toes to raise the heel away from the stair drop.
  • Keep yourself hold in this position for a certain period.
  • Bring your body back to the previous position. Perform the steps at least 20-25 times.

4- Pile Squats

Pile squats are one of the easiest ways to work on cankles. You will use the upper body pressure and raises your calves in this exercise.

Steps To Follow

  • Stand in the position by keeping your feet and shoulder wider. Make sure your feet are wider than your shoulder's width.
  • Put both of your hands on your thighs, just above the ankles.
  • Now, point your toes out and create an angle in the same direction.
  • Squat down in this position until your highs become parallel to the ground.
  • Hold this position for a certain time and return to your previous position.

5- Lunge Calf Raise

Lunge Calf Raise

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Performing this calf exercise in full lunge brings flexibility to the ankles. This exercise requires a weight plate, kettlebell, or dumbbell.

Steps To Follow

  • Hold the weight in front of the chest and stand straight.
  • Now, take a step in the forward direction and bend both legs at a 90-degree angle.
  • Use the toes to uplift the heel above from the ground.
  • Hold on to this position for a moment and bring your heel back to the ground.
  • Repeat the steps at least 15-20 times daily.

6- Skipping Rope

Skipping Rope

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It is one simplest and most traditional exercise people do daily. It directly works on the calf's muscles and reduces swelling. For this exercise, you will need a jumping/skipping rope according to your height.

Steps To Follow

  • Hold the jumping rope from both sides tightly.
  • Keep both your elbow close to the body and make it rope to pass under your feet.
  • Jump every time and land on your toes. Make sure your heels should not touch the ground.
  • Jump 10-15 times in one session(3-5 sessions per day).
  • Take a break between the sessions for breathing rhythm.

Wrap Up

Cankles are the most common problem mostly seen in women. It is the swelling on the calf muscles that looks bumpy. The reason behind it is the overweight, genetic, lymphedema, etc. There are various ways to get rid of swollen feet. 

A nutrition-rich diet, swimming, and regular walking can help cure cankles. Various calf exercises bring relief to swelling in ankles. We mentioned each of the exercises along with the steps.

We hope you find the answer to your question. If the swelling condition is not improved with these tips or exercises, take the assistance of a medical expert. Discussing your needs with a skin specialist can help you get the required treatment.

If you find this post helpful, kindly share it with others. For any feedback or questions, feel free to contact us. To get more insightful tips and guide on health problems, subscribe to our blog. 



Can Skinny People Have a Problem With Cankles?

Cankles can occur in any age or shape of people. It is largely noticed among women of different ages. People who are overweight have a higher probability of getting swelling.

How Do I Shrink Swelling From My Ankles?

There are various ways by which you can shrink swelling from your ankles. Some of them are mentioned below:

  • Swim daily

  • Eat green veggies

  • Wear compressive socks

  • Do calf exercises

  • Take a salt bath every day

Will Cankles Go Away Itself?

There is no specific time at which cankles disappear itself. Many people have swelling on their ankles during the winter season. In some cases, this problem is not treated even after doing exercise.

How Do I Cure My Cankles Naturally?

You can naturally cure cankles by performing various calf exercises and consuming a proper diet. Work on your lower feet muscles by doing aerobic exercises.

What Are The Various Causes Behind Cankles?

The various causes behind swelling in feet are as follows:

  • Genetic problems

  • Obesity

  • Skin infections

  • Venous insufficiency

  • Lipedema

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