[if gte mso 9]>Well-defind ankles in women are aesthetically desirable.  The lower calf tapers down, followed by the slight protrusion of the ankle bones that recede to meet a tapered heel and foot. This combination  yields a contour that is pleasing to the eye. Lack of this desirable contour is called “cankles.”

Cankles can be caused by excess subcutaneous fat that has amassed in the lower calf and around the ankles  as well as by large bones, muscles and tendons. Another cause is swelling from lymphedema or venous insufficiency. Cankles can also manifest due to heart, kidney or endocrine problems. Lipedema is yet another cause of cankles.

In situations where excess fatty tissue is the etiology, there is hope! The first step, of course, is to shed excess pounds and  attain your ideal body weight. Toning up the calf muscles is also a  no-brainer. But, these steps alone may not adequately improve the contour of ankles. Many times, this adipose tissue is stubbornly resistant to weight loss. The areas of inert fat deposits along the distal calf and around the ankles may need to be removed to create a significant  improvement in contour. That means liposuction. Newer techniques and  devices go by many names, such as micro-liposuction, tumescent liposuction and other catchy brand names.  The end result, however, is fat removal to create a more desirable contour.

In cases of swelling, the proper etiology of the swelling must be ascertained. Lymphedema, lipedema and venous insufficiency can all be diagnosed with a physical examination and via proper testing as conducted by a physician who understands these disorders.  Proper treatment can reduce the swelling.  The end result will be a healthier leg.   

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