Cankles | Definition, Exercise, Surgery

Learn From Doctor Team
Learn From Doctor Team is made up of well-qualified doctors of different fields with brilliant academic results and professional careers. The article is written and reviewed by doctors of this specialty.

What are Cankles?

The word “cankles” is a colloquial mixture of the terms “ankle” and “calf.” The term was coined to describe the appearance of a lack of ankle definition caused by an excess of fat cells or liquid retention at the ankle, which causes the normal taper of the calf to the ankle to be distended.

Cankles is a slang term that combines the terms “calf” and “ankles.” It is used to characterize legs where the calf does not taper off to the ankle.

Cankles are not a health problem if you do not have a disease that causes swelling. “Cankles is not a medical term, even it’s not a medical condition.

If you are obese, losing weight can help, but you cannot target any specific area for weight loss. Body fat is body fat, whether it’s on the ankles, thighs, hips, or belly.

Ankle liposuction is a procedure that can be performed for beauty purposes.

Cankles Causes

  • The accumulation of fat within the body can be influenced by genetics, predicting the probability of developing cankles.
  • Weight gain as a result of diet or pregnancy can result in the development of cankles due to increases in the size of fat tissue at the ankles.
  • Medicine changes can affect your body’s fluid retention and cause swelling in the calves as well as ankles.
swollen ankles - cankle
swollen ankles – cankle

Why Cankles Bother People?

Women’s ankles are typically 10 to 11 inches in diameter.

You shouldn’t be concerned with cankles if the swelling isn’t caused by a medical condition. According to many research institutes, it is not a medical condition.

Even, no one can argue that cankles are unappealing in a variety of ways. It can restrict your fashion options so you will have to be more careful about what you wear. You’ll most probably look for something to cover up your flabby cankles.

As a consequence of all of this, it is not uncommon to experience a loss of self-esteem and sex appeal as a result of getting cankles.

Cankles sufferers tend not to expose their legs. To conceal their sausage legs, they simply wear pants or dresses that stretch past the ankles. Some people may find it difficult to wear boots since they do not fit comfortably over their calves and ankles.

It’s as if they’re denied the ability to wear skirts, jeans, sneakers, sportswear, or even high heels because of their cankles.

Wearing heels with very well calves and ankles gives many women a boost of confidence. It’s liberating to know that you can wear whatever you want without worrying about covering your legs.

Read Knee Pain When Bent | Corn vs Wart

How to Avoid Treatment of Cankles

  • Accept the body exactly as it is.
  • If you’re self-conscious with your legs and ankles, wear socks.
  • Play up other parts of your body that you enjoy. You may be bothered by your knees, but you may adore your hair. Show off a characteristic that you adore.
  • If you find yourself stressing about them or some other part of your body, only then seek support.

Cankles Treatment

Ankles that are ill-defined and lack graceful contours may make the transition from the calf to the foot virtually indistinguishable. This body phenomenon, often known to as “cankles,” can be humiliating for both men and women, making cankles sufferers feel self-conscious about showing off their feet and legs.

Cankles, unfortunately, are difficult to get rid of. Many people suffering from this disorder have been unable to eliminate the presence of cankles through diet, exercise, and weight loss. Cankles reduction surgery or cankles liposuction could be an option for those who choose to correct this unflattering condition.

What are cankles - How to get rid of cankles
What are cankles – How to get rid of cankles

Exercise and Therapy

Cankles may be handled in many ways. Cankles that developed as a result of weight gain or liquid retention may be reduced by adopting healthy eating habits and engaging in regular exercise. Foods rich in nutrition, green and leafy vegetables, and lean protein are suggested to help the whole body remain healthy and store less fat.

Exercises that target the leg and calf muscles, in addition to a healthy diet, can help to prevent the development of cankles. The following are several exercises that can help prevent fat from collecting around your ankles:

  • skipping
  • Calf Raises
  • squats
  • Lunges

Many individuals, however, are unable to minimize cankles by a balanced diet and exercise – those that have lipedema, a condition that causes excessive fat accumulation in the legs, belly, or arms, most often affecting women.

Cankles Treatment Without Surgery
Cankles Treatment Without Surgery

Read Hip Dips – Top 15 Effective Exercise to Get Rid Of

Cankles Liposuction

Cankle liposuction is the surgical extraction of excess fatty tissue in the region in which the calf meets the ankle, resulting in a more sculpted and appealing appearance. Fat cells that accumulate in the lower legs are preserved in shallow deposits and can be clinically sculpted with an aesthetic treatment. 

Cankles liposuction is prescribed for someone dissatisfied with their leg concept due to fatty deposits embedded in the ankle region.


Liposuction is a cosmetic surgery that eliminates excess fat deposits in particular body areas. It is a simple and minimally invasive procedure that removes fat cells that are immune to diet and exercise.

Individuals with firm, elastic skin that are within 30 percent of their total body weight are the prime choices for liposuction.

Here’s what you can expect from ankle liposuction;

  • To begin, your doctor will administer a local anesthetic solution into the fatty tissue to relieve pain.
  • Following that, the doctor will make tiny horizontal incisions across the calf or ankle.
  • They would then insert a small tube known as a cannula to loosen the fatty deposits. The goal is to slim the calf and make the lower leg appear more slender.
  • A vacuum-like system is then used to suction the excess fat.
  • Your doctor will close the incisions and apply compression bandages to the affected area.


Following cankles liposuction, the legs would need to be covered with a compression garment over several weeks. Only light workout, such as cycling, is advised in the first few days after the operation to ensure that the area is not harmed by an impact or other mishap.

The majority of people who have had cankles liposuction say that the post-treatment pain is mild and totally manageable.

Side Effects

  • Bruise
  • Swelling
  • The skin may become loose
  • Edema or accumulation of fluid
  • Numbness in the area
  • Extreme pain(rare)
  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Blood vessels and nerve damage or injury
  • Asymmetric legs
  • Heat injury or heat burn
  • Poor wound healing(if you have a certain existing medical condition)

Cost of the Liposuction

Depending on where you live, the overall cost will vary from $4,000 to $7,000. Ankle liposuction, like other cosmetic procedures, is not recognized medically required and is not protected by insurance.

Alternative of Cankles Liposuction

If you are concerned about surgery, another alternative to explore is CoolSculpting, a modern technique.

CoolSculpting is a noninvasive medical procedure that aids in the removal of fat cells from beneath the skin without the use of surgery. Cryolipolysis is another name for it.

A qualified physician will use a tool to cool the fat to the freezing point. The body automatically extracts these frozen dead fat cells through your liver after a few weeks.

CoolSculpting is an outpatient, nonsurgical treatment. There is no need for cutting, anesthesia, or recovery time. It only takes around an hour, but you may need to come in for a few procedures to get the results you want.

Related Article – Breast Lift – An Overview

Skinny Cankle

You can notice cankles even if you are skinny.

Skinny women do not usually have cankles. Because they have a lower fat level. Still, some of the skinny women can have cankles and that is because of the fat distribution.

The body fat distribution is different between men and women.

Every woman has fats in their breasts, buttock, thigh, and abdominal area naturally. Your calf and ankle area do not contain much fat naturally.

Cankles Treatment
Cankles Treatment

The Cause of Skinny Cankles

  • Not involving any physical activity
  • Not walking or running
  • Legs are always at rest
  • Unhealthy food habits
  • Eating oily foods
  • Genetical factors.

If you are skinny and think that you do not need to do any physical activity or exercise then you are wrong. The extra amount of fat will store somewhere in the body.

Most skinny women who experienced cankles are lazy. They are not involved in any physical activity at all. Their legs are always at rest and that’s why fat is stored there.


Cankles in Pregnancy

In pregnancy, women usually gain weight about 4-6 pounds and that is normal.

During your pregnancy, you cannot involve in extreme physical activity or sports. You have to eat enough to make sure your baby is getting enough nutrition.

So, in pregnancy, if you are not gaining more than 8 pounds weight, then nothing to worry about.

After the child is born, you can start your exercise schedule and remove cankles.

How To Avoid Pregnancy Cankles

You have to follow a simple daily routine to avoid pregnancy cankles.

  • Take a walk every day, try to do it in the morning
  • Do some simple leg stretching and exercise
  • Drink enough water
  • Avoid excess oil
  • Avoid fat-containing foods

Note: Make sure you’ve consulted with your doctor before starting anything.


Cankles Takeaway

For anyone who doesn’t believe that the female body is scrutinized from head to toe come along with me as I tell you a little story about something called ‘cankles’. Cankles is a portmanteau of ‘calf’ and ‘ankles’ used to describe legs usually belonging to women that look more like musical drumsticks than chicken drumsticks.

The origin of cankles is about as ridiculous as the word itself since it first emerged in our pop-cultural vernacular in 2001 in the feature film ‘ShallowHal’. In it, Jason Alexander’s character uses the word ‘cankles’ in the process of fat-shaming the overweight leading lady and the shape of her legs. Next thing you know in 2003 the word pops up in Glamor magazine and the rest is well cankles history.

So, why are slender ankles a feminine beauty ideal, why is this divine? Well because someone made it up.

Until the late 19th and early 20th centuries, women’s ankles were largely hidden from view due to the floor-length gowns and skirts that they wore. But as hemlines began inching up with the turn of the century new beauty standards for what ladylike legs should look like had to be established.

For that cankles look no farther than the iconic Gibson Girl who was the beauty icon of that era who was drawn from time to time revealing her slender ankles.

Thanks a lot, Gibson Girl. And it’s not long after that that you start to see all sorts of ads popping up for ankle-reducing contractions, home remedies, and exercises. Fact number three that’s important to remember is that cankles or large ankles are not a medical condition and as I established earlier with the story about ‘Shallow Hal’ it is not a medical term.

Swollen or edematous ankles might be symptomatic of something else such as pregnancy, poor circulation, or obesity in which case exercise might help reduce the circumference of your ankles.

What’s even more important to remember is that less-defined ankles are usually a product of genetics. That’s all it is. Any decent exercise physiologist will tell you that you can’t do any kind of spot reduction on your ankles.

This may lead someone to his/her final and most distressing fact which is that more and more women are actually seeking out ankle liposuction in order to get rid of their cankles.

Which signals to us that it’s high time we knock this fabricated female beauty ideal off its pedestal so that it no longer has a leg to stand on because ladies if we can’t learn to love our ankles how are we ever going to learn to love the rest of us?


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How to tell if you have cankles?

Look at your lower leg. If you notice that your ankle is not well defined or there is almost no appearance of the ankle, then you might have cankles. As cankles are not a medical condition, there is nothing to be worried about.

What causes cankles?

Excess fat causes cankles. Storage of fat between the ankle and calf area causes it.

Why do I have cankles?

There are some causes. Genetics, excess fat, recent weight gain, the side effect of certain medications are the common causes.

How to get rid of cankles without surgery?

Try to follow the above-mentioned exercise, maintain a well-balanced diet. Especially focus on the exercises, which target the lower leg and calf muscles.

How to hide cankles?

Wear full pants, long skirts, or a gown that covers up to the heel. Cankles are nothing to be ashamed of. If this still bothers you, follow the exercises or undergo liposuction surgery. Get rid of it rather than hiding it.

Last Updated on February 25, 2022 by Learn From Doctor Team

Read More

Get in Touch


Latest Posts Protection Status