Cankles are described as swollen or oversized ankles that merge into the calf without clear differentiation. Perhaps you have also heard them referred to as Grandma’s ankles, piano legs, or stovepipe legs. There are a number of common reasons a person may develop cankles, which include:
- weight gain
- fluid retention
- kidney disease
- heart failure
- blood clot
- or a blockage in the lymphatic system.
But wait, there is a common condition often overlooked as a culprit of cankles. A common and easily treatable underlying cause of swollen ankles is venous insufficiency. Venous insufficiency or leaky veins, is a condition in which the vein valves no longer function properly resulting in the pooling of blood and pressure on the vein walls. Some symptoms may include the need to loosen one’s shoes as the day progresses, swelling in the legs or ankles, and pain during walking that stops with rest.
If you are experiencing symptoms of varicose veins coupled with cankles, you should not rule out a venous insufficiency. A duplex vein scan can identify and assess any abnormal valve function in the veins, which could be the culprit. Through adequate diagnostic examinations your physician can eliminate and pinpoint disorders causing your symptoms and identify a proper course of action to bring you relief. A tip for caring for cankles at home is to elevate your feet and ankles above your heart for 10 to 15 minute intervals throughout the day. This allows fluid and blood to be assisted by gravity to normal flow.
Most often cankles are not a sign of a serious health condition. A simple test you can perform at home to see if your cankles could be a sign of something more serious is by taking your finger and simply pushing on your cankle. If the skin bounces back quickly that is generally a sign the cankle is a result of normal fluid and/or fat. If it leaves a dent in your skin it could be a sign of abnormal fluid build up and you should discuss your cankles with your primary care physician.
If you think varicose veins or venous issues may be the cause of your cankles take our self-assessment to see if you could benefit from a consultation with one of the experienced vascular surgeons at Premier Vein Clinics.
Or call 865-588-8229 to schedule an appointment at Premier Vein Clinics. We’re conveniently located on Papermill Drive in Knoxville.