Thick calves and ankles can be a genetic trait, but there are plenty of other problems that cause cankles, and most of them have a solution. If you’re unhappy with your ankles and calves, there are many ways to attack the problem, from dieting and exercise to ruling out medical conditions.

Find out how to get rid of cankles, or how to minimize the problem so you can show off toned legs with great definition. Whether they’re caused by fluid retention or certain types of prescription medication, here’s what you can do to rid yourself of cankles.

1. Lose Weight

If you’ve noticed that you’re developing cankles after putting on a little weight, then lowering your BMI is the way to go. The most common cause of cankles that’s not genetic is the fact that fatty deposits on your legs are being pulled down by gravity. A healthy and sustainable diet is the way to go, since crash dieting can be unhealthy in the long run. If you’re ready to get rid of cankles, improve your diet, but don’t forget about exercise.

2. Prevent Fluid Retention

When your weight is stable but you’re still developing cankles, the problem is fluid retention. Cut down on salty foods and make sure that you’re staying hydrated. By reducing the amount of sodium you get from your diet, you can make a big difference. Working out also helps, since you’ll flush the sodium out of your system through sweat as well, not just urine.

Exercises For Cankles

3. Exercise

There are no exercises that can promise weight loss and toning just in your ankle area, so you’ll have to choose workouts that tone all your feet muscles. Cardio can be a great way to stay in shape, but when you’re wondering how to get rid of cankles, you can also do some more focused exercises. Jumping rope, hiking and running uphill, stair climbing, calf raises, and jump squats can all make a big difference when it comes to your calves and ankles.

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4. Check Your Medication

Some prescription medication can cause the problem or make it worse. The most common drugs that can lead to swelling in your ankle area are blood pressure medicines and antidepressants. If you notice that you’ve developed cankles after starting your treatment, talk to your doctor. Antidepressants can also cause weight gain, contributing to ankles indirectly.

5. Try Toning Shoes

When you’re wondering how to get rid of cankles, toning shoes can also help. There are plenty of footwear companies that promise their shoes will tone your legs and butt while you walk, but the feedback has been mixed. Some of the most popular options for toning shoes include Reebok EasyTone, Skechers Shape-Ups and Earth Exer-Walk.

Make Cankles Less Obvious

6. Tweak Your Birth Control

Hormones also have a strong link with weight gain and swelling in the ankle area. When you start noticing the problem in your ankle area a few months after going on birth control, ask your doctor for other options, so you can find the right pill with the least side-effects.

7. If You’re Pregnant, Wait It Out

There’s no good answer to the question of how to get rid of cankles while you’re pregnant. Poor circulation and shifting hormone levels can contribute to this problem. You best way of dealing with it is making sure that you’re not eating a diet high in sodium, since that will definitely make matters worse. Staying active throughout your pregnancy is also important, while regular massages for your feet and ankles can improve circulation and reduce the cankle problem.

Cankle Reduction Liposuction

8. Rule Out Medical Conditions

Cankles can also be caused by a variety of serious medical conditions, from blood clots to heart, kidney and liver diseases. Warning signs include red skin in your ankle area, different temperatures compared to the rest of your body. You should also push your finger into your cankle. If the skin doesn’t bounce right back, you’re dealing with serious fluid retention, so you should consult a doctor.

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9. Accept Genetics or Try Ankle Liposuction

The most drastic way to get rid of cankles is to get liposuction in the area, but the procedure is not risk free. If you’ve tried everything and the condition seems to be genetic, you may consider liposuction and liposculpture.