The term “cankle” is slang for the condition of little or no definition in musculature between the calf and the ankle. The two parts of the legs seem to blend together, giving a thick, stocky look to the lower leg. Poorly defined calf and ankles may not give the most desirable appearance, but they are usually not a sign of a medical condition or deformity. However, many individuals look for ways to create more definition in this part of the body for a better appearance.
Causes of Blended Calves and Ankles
If you have cankles, it may be because of a number of different factors. Understanding what contribute to this lack of separate muscle structure between the ankles and calves can help you to find solutions to minimize the look.
· Genetics – In some cases, genetics plays a part in the muscle structure of your body. If other members of your family have the blended appearance of ankles and calves, you may have it as well.
· Fluid Retention – Hormonal changes and diet can cause the body to retain water in the tissues, particularly in the extremities. Sodium can increase this tendency of the body to hold water. To reduce the blended look, stop using salt to season your food and read labels to ensure you are not consuming sodium-rich products.
· Pregnancy – The increased fluid level in the body during pregnancy along with increased pressure can cause ankles to swell significantly. This is a common problem that will resolve after delivery. In the meantime, you can minimize the swelling by staying active, watching salt intake and elevation feet when sitting. Massage can also help to reduce swelling of the ankles.
· Kidney Disease – Ankles can swell when the kidneys are not functioning properly. Consult a physician for proper treatment to reduce fluid retention in the ankles.
Methods for Reducing Cankles
If you still have a problem with blended musculature of the calf and ankle, there are a number of strategies for correcting the problem.
· Exercise - Experts agree that exercise is not effective for spot reducing specific areas of the body. However, exercise can help with overall weight management and strengthening muscles. You may be able to build up calf muscles enough to provide more definition between the calves and the ankles. Even if it does not correct the thick calf-ankle look, you will look better and feel better.
· Surgery – New methods of cosmetic surgery can remove fat deposits around the ankle, providing more definition between calf and ankle. However, this procedure can cost from $4,000 to $6,000 and requires some downtime for healing.
Microsuction to Reduce Cankles
Cosmetic surgery to reduce the look of blended calves and ankles is generally done by a technique called microsuction. It is a type of liposuction that uses a cannula, or tube, inserted under the skin to loosen and suck out fat cells. Microsuction uses a very thin tube about the size of the cartridge in a ballpoint pen to remove fat around the bones of the ankle. This process requires an experience cosmetic surgeon to provide the balanced look that is so critical to the look of the ankles. If you are considering this type of surgery to improve the appearance of your ankles, you should consider a number of points.
· Ankle reduction surgery requires specific structural requirements. There must be sufficient fat deposits around the ankle for successful contouring. Patients that are heavily muscled around the ankles or have thick ankles bones are not good candidates for this type of surgery.
· The surgery requires an anesthesiologist so that the patient can be unconscious and immobile during the delicate surgery. In addition, a cocktail of sedatives and anti-anxiety medication is given prior to surgery to relax the patient. The surgery itself takes around 45 minutes to an hour.
· After surgery, compression stockings are applied to the legs to reduce swelling and aid healing. The patient may be encouraged to walk immediately.
· The patient can expect some discomfort for a period of a few days after surgery. The physician will prescribe suitable pain medications to keep the patient comfortable.
· Swelling will continue for a few days after surgery. The legs should be elevated to help reduce the swelling. Generally, patients can resume walking after a day or two.
· Residual swelling may continue for up to two months after surgery, but patients will be able to notice a significant difference in the appearance of the ankles after a few days.
By Eszter Hazai, PhD Google+