The horror, the horror. Habits maketh the woman and a well-turned ankle is down to how you use and treat it and the surrounding physiology. Over time, bad habits will create cankles sure as night follows day.
1. Abandon flip flops, flimsy flats and slides. Seek support. Any shoe that demands you grip it with your toes makes you use the wrong muscles to walk – essentially, it makes you shuffle. In summer, opt for espadrilles – ideally worn with the back securely up, not mule-y, with at least a little height in the wedge. The best flats also have a little in-built height – even a centimetre or two is crucial to comfort and cankle prevention.
2. Walk barefoot on a beach. Take advantage of the weather and head for the sand. This is the best possible exercise for fit feet and shapely legs, never mind its spiritual benefits.
3. Practise walking properly. According to a postural specialist, the ball of your foot should make contact with the ground first, not your heel. Think of it as the pump for your circulation, literally pushing your blood hard and strong up towards your heart. Good, firm contact and push-off will get your system going and put an end to swollen ankles.
4. Downward dog. It’s seldom you see a long-term practitioner of yoga who suffers from cankles. Yoga lengthens muscles for a longer, leaner look. Repeatedly gently stretching those heels down towards the floor will help keep the area above your ankles from becoming compact and thick.
5. Mind your arches. Non-supportive shoe styles (see 1) will exact a high price. Once arches fall, you’re toast. It won’t just be cankles, it’ll be knee and hip problems as well, and goodbye to all but the least fashionable footwear.
6. Lower your salt intake. Water retention makes ankles and feet swell, which is never a good look, especially in summer. You needn’t worry unduly that you won’t be getting enough in the hot weather – most of us consume far too much.
Laura George @lgeorge353