Get Rid of Cankles for Good With These 7 Methods

Most people would be lying if they said they found chunky ankles an attractive asset. And if you’ve ever wondered why some people have been cursed with cankles, you’re not alone. According to The Dr. Oz Show, aside from being genetically predisposed to them, cankles can occur when a person’s weight gain increases fat stores in the leg, which are then pulled down by gravity. Cankles can also occur when your body retains too much fluid, causing the tissues in the lower calf and ankle to swell. This is common during pregnancy, or it can be a symptom of kidney disease, heart failure, a blood clot, or a blockage in the lymphatic system.

If you’re someone who struggles with unsightly cankles, we’ve got some tips for you to try. So, don’t toss those strappy sandals and sexy high heels just yet. Here are seven ways to get rid of cankles that actually work.

1. Weighted calf raises

man and woman facing each other

Try getting rid of your cankles with these ways that actually work. | iStock.com

This exercise from Healthline requires either dumbbells, kettlebells, or a barbell, and it works the superficial calf muscle (gastrocnemius), and deep calf muscle (soleus). Begin standing straight with your feet shoulder-width apart, arms hanging down by your sides with a weight in each hand. Be sure your arms are extended and your shoulders relaxed, and then shift your weight onto the balls of your feet. As you raise your heels off the ground, press your weight down and push your body upward. Hold this position for a brief moment at the top, then slowly lower your heels back to the ground in one smooth, fluid movement. Be careful not to lock your knees; keep them slightly bent and maintain an athletic position. Healthline recommends doing three sets of 15 reps with a weight in each hand.

2. Jumping rope

Person Jumping rope

Jumping rope can help reduce ankle fat. | iStock.com

Jumping rope is more than a great cardio workout — it can also be a useful hack for slenderizing your ankles, or at least making them appear as such. This exercise, The Dr. Oz Show says, will tone your calves to make your ankles look smaller. If your gym offers it, try taking a class that will target this problem area specifically or commit to jumping rope for 10 minutes a day.

3. Cankle-lift treatment

Woman wearing ankle boots

You can even get surgery. | iStock.com/tixti

Yes, you read that right. But be warned, this is a very new procedure and is not a foolproof solution. The Daily Mail reports that the procedure is offered by Professor Syed Haq at the Invictus Humanus clinic and is virtually pain-free. According to the article, “Microscopic threads are inserted into the hypodermis, the inner layer of the skin that contains the fatty deposits. The threads are made from polydioxanone (PDO), a colourless, crystalline, biodegradable synthetic polymer. They have been used in suturing in surgery for more than 20 years and are broken down naturally by the body over time, so the effects of the cankle-lift will last between two and three years.” While the story reported a handful of women were pleased with their cankle results, there isn’t any more conclusive evidence. We’ll let you be the judge, but hey, maybe one day a cankle-lift will be the new face-lift.

4. Plié squat and calf raise

Woman wearing black high heels

This exercise really helps. | iStock.com/javi_indy

This move, according to Shape, should have you from sneaker to stiletto in no time. Begin with your feet wider than hip-width apart, with toes slightly turned out and hands on your hips. Bend knees over your toes to sink your body into a squat position. Holding this position, raise your heels off the ground without raising your hips. Slowly press them back down 10 times in a row, returning to standing position to complete one rep.

5. Avoid sodium-rich foods

junk food consisting of fries, onion ring,s chips, soda, and a burger

Cut back on junk food. | iStock.com

While fluid retention is a main cause of a sudden onset of chunky ankles, it’s usually due to sodium intake or pregnancy, Dr. Caroline Cederquist tells Women’s Health. While compression socks can temporarily relieve swelling, a person’s diet needs to be addressed to really see long-term results. Cederquist recommends avoiding sodium-rich foods, such as processed and fast foods. Staying hydrated can also help prevent fluid retention. If cankles are the result of pregnancy, be sure to discuss it with your doctor.

6. Hemorrhoid cream

legs with sandals on their feet

Surprisingly, this really can work. | iStock.com/CrailsheimStudio

Although it’s not a good long-term solution, if you’re looking for a quick fix for a night out, hemorrhoid cream might be the way to go. According to The Dr. Oz Show, these products can temporarily firm and tighten the skin. Just be sure to consult your doctor before using any new remedy or supplement.

7. High-knee jog in place

Women jogging in a park

High knees can help slim down your calf muscles. | iStock.com/LarsZahnerPhotography

As part of a full workout, Women’s Health breaks down a simple exercise that targets your lower leg muscles. Start in a standing position, and raise your left leg and your right arm in front. Then, hop and switch so that your right leg and left arm are in front of your body. Throughout this running movement, the focus should be on staying on the balls of your feet.