Thursday, July 23, 2009

More Americans Concerned About 'Cankles'

©Costin Cojocaru Photography . Image from

"The circumference of a woman's ankle is about 11 inches, on average. That's not much to obsess about. But enough Americans are concerned about fat ankles -- or "cankles" -- that gyms are coming up with new ways to tone them; plastic surgeons are pushing $4,000 to $6,000 liposuction procedures to slim them; and shoe companies are offering special models designed to minimize them.'
"The most common causes of chubby ankles are obesity and a genetic predisposition to store fat in the lower legs. Other causes include abnormal water retention, tendinitis, edema associated with pregnancy, and an Achilles' tendon injury that brings on chronic swelling and could lead to long-term problems, says Marlene Reid, a podiatric surgeon in Naperville, Ill."

For the Body-Conscious, It's Now the Ankle That Rankles Chubby Lower Legs, Latest Styles Don't Mix As Women Wage Costly Fight Against 'Cankles'  by AMY CHOZICK Wall Street Journal, July 23, 2009, WSJ Online

Okay I read this and immediately remembered a book I read called the body has it's reasons. The premise was simple. The body doesn't simply take up random acts for no apparent reason. There is always some reason. 

In this case one of the leading causes of "cankles" is gravity. Fluid just has a harder time making it up hill. The lymphatic system just doesn't have a pump like the heart to move fluid. It depends on muscular action to help pump the fluid out. 

Also walking around on two legs does help either. Fluid has a lot more to height to achieve in it's return to the venous system. But sitting all day can also maybe a problem. Without movement things just get static and accumulate. 

Shoes can be a problem as well. Shoes can act like a tourniquet slowing down the circulation and allowing it to accumulate in the ankles. And high heels are of course really a bad idea and are a circulatory nightmare. 

Then there is stress. Stress from injury, mechanical stress (being overweight or being on your feet all day.   or just plain stress. Stress shrinks the lymphatic vessels with bad consequences for the ankles. 

Here are some solutions.

Gravity- Use the old waitress trick. Lay on the floor and put your feet up on the coach. This reverses the flow of lymphatic fluid. Or use the wall. 

Inactivity- Walking is probably the best exercise for pumping fluid through the ankle. It seems to stimulate circulation from head to toe. Walking pumps blood to the brain. And we all could use that. 

Rotating your ankles is a great way to work all four major muscle groups coming down from the legs> It also helps open a little channel through which 75% of blood flows. 

Calf stretches help relax the muscles to encourage blood flow. The calf is trying to pull the foot flat in the act of moving us forward in the act of locomotion and the foot is trying to maintain an arch in the act of forming a stable platform. So this titan struggle between the feet and the calves can lead to really problems. in the ankle. 

Rotating on a point is a simple reflexology technique we use to move the fluid. Simply sit with your foot in your lap and rotate your foot will applying pressure to the area with your finger or thumb. 

A good reflexologist can do a lot for moving this fluid along. But be sure to help them out with remembering that movement is a key to slim ankles. And keep it moving. 


Kevin Kunz
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