Want to know the secret on how to get rid of cankles fast and without surgery?
If you don’t know what cankles are then think of it as a blending of the calf and ankle. You have cankles when the top of the lower leg doesn’t taper down into the lower leg.
Cankles can make women very self-conscious of their physical appearance. It’s no wonder they want them gone and fast. Women have told me they hate their cankles so much that they wear long skirts to cover them up and have even stopped wearing sandals.
One woman who was very self-conscious of her cankles told me she had to stop wearing capris because they drew attention to her cankles and made her look like a Hobbit.
Well, the good news is no matter the reason why you have cankles you can still make progress towards getting skinnier ankles and calf muscles.
So have no fear if you feel like you’re doomed to have cankles forever. I’m going to show you how you can target your cankles to get them smaller.
What Are Cankles and How to Get Rid of Them
One of the worst parts about having big ankles is you can’t wear tall boots because they won’t fit. But what is the reason why you have large ankles in the first place?
Now there are few reasons why it appears your calf and ankle tend to morph together instead of tapering down.
The first is purely based on genetics.
You may have inherited the gene for bigger thighs and cankles (1). If it runs in your family then you might even be physically fit but still have fat ankles.
Many women are born with a pear-shaped body which can make it hard to get rid of thigh fat or cankles. Getting rid of hip dips can also be a royal pain for anybody born with a pear-shaped body.
If you’ve genetically inherited larger lower legs then it’s going to be an uphill battle for you. But this doesn’t mean you’re doomed for eternity. You can still do some things to at the very least slim down the appearance of large ankles.
The next reason why you might have cankles is simply from weight gain. If you’re carrying too much excess weight or if your body fat is too high then the appearance of your ankles will be exaggerated.
If you tend to gain weight in your lower body then gravity can gradually pull this fat down into your ankles. Lack of proper blood circulation (such as what happens to pregnant women) can also contribute to cankles (2).
Last but not least larger ankles can be caused by water retention (3). Getting rid of water weight should be a high priority if this is what’s causing the swelling of your lower legs.
How to Get Rid of Cankles If You Are Skinny
Now if you’re skinny or thin but still have cankles then there’s a good chance you have a high body fat percentage.
You might appear thin and not be obese but if you’re “skinny fat” then you could very well have had big ankles your whole life. This is because if you’re skinny fat then your body fat percentage is way too high.
Then the best thing will be to lower your overall body fat percentage (4). You do this by burning more fat off your body while adding some lean and toned muscle.
If you do the exercises for cankles below then you don’t have to worry about your lower legs “bulking up.” When done the right way it’ll help to slim down and tone the area in combination with you burning off more fat (5).
Is It Possible to Target Cankles
First off spot reduction isn’t a very effective way to lose stubborn fat in troubled spots such as your ankles (6). So if you just do an exercise like a calf raise then you shouldn’t expect your cankles to go away any time soon.
But this doesn’t mean you can’t lose fat overall and do specific exercises to tone and slim down your larger ankles.
If you hold onto fat on your ankles then this is the fat that’s stubbornly going to want to go away last. This is based mostly on genetics which can make getting rid of fat on troubled spots like your ankles that much harder.
But by following the strategies below you’ll start to lose fat off your entire body then you’ll quickly be on your way to slimming down those lower legs too.
Diet to Lose Ankle Fat
Like you read earlier in this guide on getting rid of your cankles you’re going to have to lower your body fat percentage.
This biggest contributor to an increase in body fat is a poor diet. If you’re dumping too many calories and junk food in the body then your body fat is going to go up and up.
Start by measuring and lowering your calories so you’re losing weight and burning off fat for energy. Most people who have trouble with their weight do better by going on a low carb diet.
Make sure you’re fueling your body with nutritious whole foods such as the ones you’ll find in my Food List Cheat Sheet.
Kick the processed foods, refined carbs, sugar, artificial sweeteners, vegetable oils & other junk foods out of your diet. Eat more green veggies, high protein foods, and good fats.
One of the causes of bigger ankles in the first place is water retention. So lowering your sodium intake will help to reduce fluid retention. Then try eating more potassium-rich foods such as avocados to help further pull this salt out of your body and lower fluid retention.
Pregnancy can also cause you to retain water in your ankles as well (7). This kinda comes with the territory with pregnancy but you can always lower your sodium intake and exercise to lower the swelling.
For a complete diet plan that uses the above strategies to lose fat from troubled and stubborn spots on your body check out The Flat Belly Formula.
How to Get Rid of Cankles Exercises
Now once you start losing fat off your body then there are some specific exercises you can do to further slim down and tone up your ankles.
This is my favorite form of exercise as it’s based on the science-backed rapid fat loss principles of HIIT. With sprinting your body will burn off a higher percentage of fat from your body for longer than traditional steady-state cardio. If you can find a hill to do your sprinting then that’ll work best to better slim down your cankles.
Running up and down a flight of stairs will also work well to help burn more fat off your body while toning up your ankles. Just run up the stairs as fast as you can and hurry back down before repeating.
Stand up tall with one foot in front of you and the other behind you. Then rapidly switch your feet with the front foot going back and the back foot going towards the front. Quickly repeat this exercise.
Bodyweight Standing Calf Raises
All you need to do this exercise is a ledge of some sort. Place your toes on the edge of the ledge with your heels hanging off. Then lower your heels down towards the floor before raising them to the very top.
Jumping rope is one of my favorite methods to increase your heart rate and fat burning while toning up your lower legs. Try to go at least 30 seconds of jumping rope, rest for 30 seconds and then keep on repeating. The faster you can jump rope the better. But if you don’t have a jump rope then you can mimic the movement by rapidly jumping up and down.
Find a box about as tall as the middle point in your lower leg up to knee height. Swing your arms backward and as you bring your arms forwards take a jump up onto the box. Then lower your legs back down one at a time on the floor. Keep repeating this movement to get your heart rate cranking and toning up your cankles.
It doesn’t get any simpler than this for losing your cankles. If you don’t know how to do a Jumping Jack then you might not have shown up to gym class in high school.
Jogging or Walking
One of the biggest causes of cankles is too much inactivity. So the more you can add in some walking or jogging the better. You’ll not only burn off more fat but you’ll also build up your slow-twitch muscle fibers which are a lot thinner than fast-twitch muscle fibers (8).
Even consider standing up more if you find yourself sitting too much during the day. You’ll not only improve the appearance of your ankles but also lower your risk of heart failure.
What causes fat ankles?
If you have fat ankles then you probably inherited the gene from one of your parents. But you could also just be overweight or have too much fat on your body which is being dispersed into your ankles. Finally, you could have fluid retention or poor circulation for one reason or another which is causing your ankles to fatten up with swelling.
Can you fix cankles?
Now just because you might have inherited the gene for cankles doesn’t mean you’re stuck with them forever. You can follow the strategies above to better slim down and tone up your lower legs despite your genetics. You might not end up having the slimmest ankles in the world but you’ll notice an improvement in the physical appearance of your cankles.
The Last Word
I was going to write that we should all love our bodies exactly how they are and not look to improve them. And I’m all for that but I also know many women who are very self-conscious about the size of their ankles.
The truth is these trouble spots like cankles can wear you down and make you feel self-conscious. So I don’t see anything wrong with working to improve yourself to boost your confidence.
Follow the methods above to get rid of your cankles fast and without surgery to start getting some impressive results. It might not happen overnight but once you start putting in the work consistently you’ll notice your cankles slimming down and getting skinnier much faster than you thought possible.
Josh holds a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Physiology and Nutrition Science. He’s a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist (CSCS) by the National Strength and Conditioning Association and he’s a Certified Personal Trainer (CPT) by American Council on Exercise. He’s worked as a Strength and Conditioning Coach at the high school and college levels. He has over 15 years of experience as a personal trainer and nutrition coach. He is also the author of The Flat Belly Formula. He strives to bring inspiration and results for people to live healthier lives through smart diet and exercise.