Oh No…Not Cankles!

Do you even know what “cankles are?”  I heard the expression some years ago when travelling through New Zealand.

A middle aged woman was backpacking through the South Island. It was her much belated “gap year” tour. And yes…I DO mean belated!

She was 47, recently divorced and had just been left a small inheritance. She spoke with me candidly about her wish to fulfil some unfinished business and accomplish some much longed for dreams. One of these was to travel extensively around the globe and visit Australia and New Zealand and South America. And that is precisely what she was doing. You could see the sparkle in her eyes and the esteem she derived from finally realising and actualising something she had wanted to do for 27 years. Just being around that sparkle was wonderful.

The other dream she had was to fully address her health utilising natural therapies and natural products, as well as exploring a host of alternative modalities such as naturopathy, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Ayurvedic treatments and Homeopathy. She was reasonably healthy but had a massive problem over the years with her “cankles!”

“Cankles?” I queried.

“Yes, cankles,” she replied.

She then duly informed me cankles were the merging off calves and ankles – the bane of every woman’s existence – that occurs with extreme oedema and fluid retention! This happens when fluid builds up in the gaps between the cells.

As a naturopath I know a little about fluid retention and oedema and I was able to give her the following tips and advice.  Number one on the tips and treatment list is the most important, and will do you and your body wonders, so take heed!

  • Exercise. Yes, it’s my old catchcry, but it is so important when it comes to keeping the body moving and working well. I’ve seen severe cases of fluid retention dissipate to almost nothing just because the patient has really committed to exercise a few times a week.
  • No processed foods! Stay away from anything white – white flour, white sugar (in fact stay away from all sugar). Refined foods are terrible for cankles.
  • Increase the fibre in your diet. Lots of steamed vegetables, brown rice and fresh juices.
  • Get adequate protein from fish and chicken sources. Steer clear of too much animal protein and red meat.
  • Reduce or cut out alcohol. This is one of the worst things for fluid build ups.
  • Take an amino acid and vitamin B.
  • Bioflavonoids. These can be sourced from substance such as rosehip.

Good luck. A few simple changes like those listed above and you may be able to rid yourself of, or reduce the severity of your dreaded “cankles.”

If the problem persists, seek out a qualified specialist for further information and testing.