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Can You Slim Your Ankles?

Updated on August 21, 2014

Thick ankles are also referred to “cankles,” or the fat between calves and ankles. They are usually caused by a person’s lifestyle, which means that diet and exercise can usually slim ankles. However, sometimes, thick ankles are caused by a health condition, and may require medical treatment, so be sure to consult your primary care physician to rule out any major health problems. The suggestions presented below may work for some people, but not for everyone.

Lower Leg Exercises

Lower leg exercises allow you to target your ankles, and Ace Fitness provides a variety of calf exercises that can help reduce your amount of ankle fat. For example, with your feet hip-width apart and your toes facing straight ahead, position yourself 6 inches to 12 inches away from a wall and then put your hands at shoulder height on the wall. Exhale, and with your knees straight and hands still on the wall, slowly rise up on your toes to lift your heels off the floor. Hold this position for a few seconds and then inhale and slowly lower your heels back down to the floor. Repeat several times.

Aerobic and Muscle-Strengthening Exercises

A combination of aerobic and muscle-strengthening exercises can help reduce your overall fat content and strengthen your body. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend 2 and a half hours of exercise each week, which is roughly 30 minutes of exercise 6 days a week. Aerobic, or cardio, exercises increase your heart rate, and range from mowing the lawn to walking fast to jogging or playing tennis. Muscle-strengthening exercises, which should be performed at least two days a week, work your major muscle groups, and include lifting weights, using resistance bands, yoga, gardening, and doing push-ups and sit-ups.

Temporary Solutions

According to a 2009 article in the Wall Street Journal, titles, “For the Body Conscious, It’s Now the Ankle That Rankles,” personal trainer Anthony Preischel created a temporary remedy that reduces the size of ankles. This involves applying Preparation H hemorrhoid cream to the ankles and then wrapping them overnight in Ace bandages. Preischel says this treatment can reduce excessive water weight that has built up in the lower leg area. However, Wyeth, the company that manufactures Preparation H, does not recommend the product for non-hemorrhoid use.

More Expensive Alternatives

Fit Flops and Skechers Shape-ups are shoes designed to tighten and tone your lower leg muscles and reduce ankle fat as you walk. They can range in price from $50 to $100 a pair. However, these types of shoe wear have come under scrutiny for causing sprains and strains. In addition to shoe remedies, some plastic surgeons promote liposuction, which can cause several thousand dollars, as a way to minimize ankle size.

Treating Edema

Edema is a medical condition that causes swelling or puffiness in the ankles, feet or legs. It is a result of fluid building in the body’s tissues. According to, gravity can pull fluids down into your feet and legs, as when you sit or stand for too long, particularly in hot weather. In addition, eating foods with a high sodium content can aggravate the problem, as can taking some medications. Your doctor may prescribe a diuretic or water pill to reduce swelling. In addition, elevating your legs when standing or sitting for long periods of time, or using support stocking can help to reduce swelling.

Treating Nephrotic Syndrome

Nephrotic syndrome is a condition that may indicate potential kidney damage. In addition to swelling of the angles, legs and feet, it also causes high levels of fat and cholesterol in the blood, low levels of albumin in the blood, and large protein amounts in the urine. Although the primary cause of this disease is focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, treatment may also involve identifying possible secondary causes, such as high blood pressure or diabetes. Treatment includes medications and limiting sodium intake, and sometimes lower fat and cholesterol intake as well.


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