If you’re wondering what causes cankles, you’re probably concerned about the appearance of your lower legs. Many women worry about having poorly defined calves and ankles since cankles aren’t a desirable feature. While cankles aren’t usually dangerous in medical terms, they can be unattractive and damage your self-esteem. So, let’s take a look at what causes this problem, when to worry, and what you can do to help.

Cankles – What Are They?

The word cankles is a mix of two words – calves and ankles. The two words squash together into one, which sums up the body feature they’re describing. Cankles are poorly defined lower legs. If your calf and ankle appear to merge into one without any clear shape or curves, you have “cankles.”

Are Cankles A Medical Condition?

Although cankles may cause low self-esteem, they aren’t usually a medical problem. In some cases, cankles indicate a health-related issue. For example, a kidney, heart, or liver problem may cause the ankles to swell suddenly. If you spot sudden ankle swelling, you should seek out medical advice straight away. That will rule out any potentially serious causes.
Pregnancy is another health-related cause of swelling in the lower legs. It is a common problem and resolves after birth.

Sometimes, swelling in the ankles is a reaction to medications to treat other conditions. These medications include antidepressants, hormone treatments, steroids, and birth control pills. If swelling appears after starting a new medication, seeking help from a doctor is essential. They can change the medication or alter the dose to improve the side effects.

Lipedema is one medical condition that can cause large legs. Lipedema is a poorly understood problem that causes an abnormal build-up of fat in the lower body. The classic signs of this condition include large ankles and calves. There are, however, some other symptoms to look out for too. For example, lipedema doesn’t usually affect the feet, so a cuff of fat tends to appear at the ankle. The whole of the legs may appear column-like, and swelling should be equal on both sides of the body.

Typically, the upper body is unaffected, leading to a disproportionate appearance. Lipedema is a progressive condition and only worsens over time, so getting an early diagnosis is important. The sooner you get a diagnosis, the sooner you can get treatment to slow the progression down. As many family doctors are unfamiliar with lipedema, you should seek help from a specialist. Dr. Su at ArtLipo is a lipedema specialist and can give you the diagnosis and treatment you need.

In most other cases, cankles are nothing to do with a medical problem.

Also Read: How to Get Rid of Cankles Using These Three Popular Methods

Do I Have Cankles Because I’m Obese?

Obesity is one cause of cankles. If you are overweight in general, it’s likely some of the excess fat will be on your ankles and calves. Also, excess fat paired with the extra strain on the ankle joints due to excess weight can make them swell up. If you lose weight overall, it’s likely the appearance of your cankles will improve. Usually, you lose fat from all over the body when you diet and exercise. Your calves and ankles should, therefore, appear smaller. It’s important to note, though, spot reducing areas of fat is impossible. You cannot specifically target the ankles and calves with any diet or exercise regime. In some cases, even if you lose weight, your cankles may remain.

Do Genetics Cause Cankles?

Genetics are often the cause of cankles. Heredity determines the way your body is structured. If one of your parents has cankles, you’ll probably have them too. Even slim people can have cankles due to genetic factors. Unfortunately, there is nothing you can do yourself about genetically acquired cankles. Surgery is the only solution.

Can Cankles Be Improved Naturally?

If your cankles are due to obesity, you can exercise and diet to improve their appearance. Exercises like jumping rope, calf raises, and lunges can help tone the surrounding muscles and create more definition. Eating less salty food, quitting smoking, and staying well hydrated can reduce edema-related cankles. Wearing compression socks can also help to reduce swelling.

Nevertheless, no natural treatment can change your genes. If your ankles lack definition because of your genetics, only surgery can help. Calf liposuction is an effective surgical solution. It involves the removal of excess fat cells from the calf and ankle area. A skilled surgeon can then sculpt the remaining fat to create an attractive shape with more ankle and calf definition.

Dr. Su at ArtLipo is an especially skilled liposuction surgeon with expertise in this field. He produces impressive results for patients with cankles thanks to his effective lipo treatments. Now that you know what causes cankles, you can decide if surgery is the only solution to your problem. If so, get in touch with ArtLipo today to arrange a consultation.