The Cause and Cure for Cankles

Slang for the area where your ankle meets your calf, cankles are fatty deposits that appear at the bottom of the where the leg and ankle meet. Instead of the leg tapering into a slim ankle, it continues in diameter, and there's little distinction between where the leg ends and the ankle starts.

What causes them? When fat cells in the ankle area become engorged, there's little room for them to expand, causing the ankles to appear swollen and fat, also known as cankles. But fat is not always the cause of them; muscle, edema, or swelling can all contribute. Genetic makeup also plays a role in fat that accumulates toward the lower end of the leg. Other cankle-causing factors include pregnancy (a lot of water is retained in the lower legs, ankles and feet), inflammation of the lymphatic system and kidney problems.

Cankles can be treated surgically with liposuction in the inner and outer portion of the ankle. Although it's a rare area to treat, it's also a tricky one because of the amount of nerves that live at the base of the leg. The recovery is pretty lengthy due to the amount of time it takes for swelling to subside-like the knees, the ankles are far away from the heart, so it takes longer for the blood to recirculate, and the area tends to stay swollen longer.

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