If you asked someone to make the list of the most glamorous body parts, ankles would indeed feature at the bottom; it is if that person doesn’t forget about the ankles altogether. Although usually forgotten, ankles are one of the most crucial body parts.
Ankles play a crucial role in standing, walking, or running by allowing up-and-down foot movement. Ankles also play a crucial role in fashion; they can make or break an outfit. Whether you’re in the market for ankle-length pants or ankle boots, knowing the average ankle size for men and women and how you stack up against it can help you make the right buying decision. Knowing your ankle circumference is also a must for buying accessories like anklets.
Ask your friend about their most unaesthetic body part, and they’ll probably point down to their ankles. Most of us are reminded of our weak ankles every time we bend down to put on our socks and shoes.
However, have you ever stopped to wonder if you really have weak ankles or if everyone has small ankles like you? Probably not.
For this article, we analyzed several anthropometric studies to learn about the average ankle size in men and women. Furthermore, we go over how to measure your ankles correctly, the factors that affect your ankle size, and the effects of your ankle size on your frame and overall health.
We have a lot to cover. So sit back, kick up your feet (but not too far — we need to measure those ankles), and get ready to learn all there is to know about your ankle size.
Why You Should Know The Average Ankle Size
Your ankles are much more than the bony things that connect your feet to your legs. They can help you pick the right style and size of shoes and socks and give you valuable insight into your overall health.
Folks with a bigger-than-average ankle size generally have wider feet, which requires you to buy shoes with a wider toe box. Knowing your ankle size will help you choose shoes and accessories that fit well, preventing discomfort or injury.
Furthermore, understanding the average ankle size can give you critical insights into your health. For example, swelling or edema in the ankles can be a sign of circulatory problems, heart failure, or kidney disease.
Lymphedema, a condition in which fluid builds up in the lymphatic system, can also cause ankle swelling. On the flip side, thin or bony ankles may be a sign of osteoporosis or other bone-related conditions. Doctors often measure ankle size during a physical exam to check for underlying health issues.
Average Ankle Size in Men
According to US anthropometric data from a 1988 report that measured the ankles of 1,774 men, the average male ankle size is 8.73 inches or 22.17 cm. This data is based on the body measurements of US military personnel. 
The average ankle size depends on multiple factors, including gender, age, height, weight, genetics, and lifestyle choices. Below is the average ankle size in men:
|Percentile||Ankle Size (inches)|
In these tables, the one percentile represents the men with the smallest ankle sizes. Conversely, the 99 percentile represents men with the biggest ankle circumference. In this study, the men with the smallest ankle size had 7.61-inch ankles, whereas 9.90 inches was the largest recorded ankle size. The 50th percentile represents men with the average ankle size — 8.73 inches.
Notably, there is a significant difference in the ankle size in the sample group. The man with the biggest ankle circumference had 2.29 inches on the man with the smallest ankles. The height, age, weight, genetics, and body composition were probably responsible for this discrepancy.
You can expect the person with 9.90-inch ankles to have a substantially bigger frame than the individual with 7.61-inch ankles.
Average Ankle Size in Women
The 1988 report also measured the ankles of 2,208 women and concluded that the average female ankle size was 8.08 inches or 20.53 cm.
Interestingly, there is only a 0.65-inch gap between the average ankle size of women and men. However, the biggest and smallest women’s ankle size were separated by a 2.23-inch gap — almost the same as the men. Nonetheless, women generally have smaller ankles than their male counterparts.
|Percentile||Ankle Size (inches)|
Like in the case of men, the average ankle size in women can change depending on their body structure and composition. Ladies in the one percentile have 7.08-inch ankles, meaning these were the smallest ankles of the bunch. On the other hand, 9.31 inches was the biggest ankle circumference recorded in the group.
The slight difference between the average male and female ankle size is mainly because the ladies have a higher amount of body fat, especially in their lower bodies. Furthermore, body parts like the ankles and wrists store the least amount of muscle, leading to a minimal difference in measurement between the sexes.
Average Ankle Width For Males and Females
While the ankle size is measured by wrapping a tape measure around the circumference of your ankle, the ankle width (or breath) is measured by placing the arms of a breadth caliper on each of your ankle bones where they are the thickest.
Average Ankle Width in Men
According to the above-referenced data, the average ankle breadth for adult males is 2.87 inches or 7.28 cm.
Many healthcare professionals prefer the ankle width (or bimalleolar breadth) measurement over the ankle circumference because it is less prone to deviation, as there are no fat stores on the ankle bones. The lower leg fat is stored just above the ankle joint and below the calf, which can skew ankle size measurements.
|Percentile||Ankle Breadth (inches)|
You will notice that the individual with the biggest ankle breadth (3.23 inches) only had 0.98 inches on the person with the smallest ankle width (2.52 inches). This is a significant deviation from the 2.29 inches difference in the biggest and smallest ankle size in males.
Average Ankle Width in Women
As per the US anthropometric data, the average ankle width for a woman is 2.54 inches or 6.44 cm.
The difference between the biggest ankle width (2.83 inches) and the smallest (2.25 inches) is a minuscule 0.58 inches. It is almost half the difference between the biggest and smallest ankle width in males.
|Percentile||Ankle Width (inches)|
How To Measure Your Ankle Size
Unlike measuring your wrists or forearms, measuring your ankles is relatively easy and more convenient as you can use both your hands.
To take your ankle circumference, place your foot on an elevated surface, such as a bed or chair. Doing so makes taking the reading easier. You must, however, ensure your lower leg is perpendicular to the floor. Measuring your ankles with your lower leg at an angle can skew the results.
Alternatively, you could ask for someone’s help to measure your ankles while you stand upright with both feet placed on the floor in a shoulder-width stance.
This is how to measure your ankle size accurately with a tape measure:
- Place your dominant foot on an elevated surface, such as a chair, while the other foot is on the floor. The lower leg of the dominant side should be perpendicular to the floor, and your knee should be over your ankle.
- Wrap a tape measure around the narrowest part of your ankle. It is usually an inch or so above your ankle bone.
- The tape should be wrapped snugly around your ankle.
- Note down the number where the tape overlaps. This will be your ankle size.
- Repeat the process on the other leg.
How To Measure Your Ankle Width
Taking your ankle width measurement is a little more complicated than measuring your ankle circumference. Don’t get us wrong. It is not complex because it requires you to do some insanely difficult mathematical calculations. We say complicated just because you need a breadth caliper for this measurement, and most households don’t own a breadth caliper, whereas a measuring tape is quite common.
Measuring your ankle breadth involves measuring between your ankle’s medial and lateral malleoli. In layperson’s terms, you must measure between the thickest parts of your ankle bones.
Here is how to measure your ankle width using a breadth caliper:
- Stand erect with a shoulder-wide stance with both feet placed on the floor.
- Have someone place the arms of the breadth caliper on each of your ankle bones where they are the thickest.
- Record the measurements.
- Repeat 2-3 times to verify the results.
- Measure your other ankle.
How To Measure Your Ankles Without a Tape
Folks that don’t have a measuring tape don’t need to hang their heads low. You can measure your ankle circumference using a piece of thread. You could also use a piece of paper if you don’t have a measuring tape.
Here is a step-by-step process to measure your ankles using a piece of string:
- Place your dominant foot on an elevated platform.
- Wrap the thread around the thinnest part of your ankle, above your ankle bones.
- The thread should neither be too loose nor too tight around your ankle.
- Record the number where the thread overlaps.
- Place the thread on a flat surface and measure between the two points using a scale.
- Repeat 2-3 times to ensure accurate sizing.
- Measure your other ankle.
- The tape should wrap snuggly around your ankle. However, it shouldn’t be so tight that it digs into your skin.
- The tape should be parallel to the floor during the measurement. Wrapping the tape at an angle can skew the results.
- Your foot should be placed flat on the floor during the measurements, and your toes should be in line with your knees. Lifting your toes or heels off the floor will give you an incorrect reading.
- Take your ankle measurements barefoot. Wearing a shoe with a significant heel-to-toe drop can skew your results.
Factors Affecting Ankle Size
Your ankle size can depend on multiple factors, including:
- Height: Taller folks generally have bigger ankles than their shorter counterparts. It is mainly because your ankle size is proportional to your overall body frame.
- Weight: Overweight people tend to have larger ankles because of fat and fluid accumulation in the lower legs. If left unchecked, it can contribute to swelling and edema.
- Age: Your ankle size can change with age. Most people experience muscle atrophy as they grow older, leading to smaller ankles. Furthermore, hormonal changes can also cause changes in ankle size, especially in women. Medical conditions, such as arthritis or osteoporosis, can also change your ankle size.
- Genetics: Genetics can also influence your ankle size. Men with a family history of bigger joints are more likely to have larger ankles than the average.
- Lifestyle: Lifestyle can play a crucial role in your ankle size. Active people generally have thicker ankles than their sedentary counterparts.
Ankle Size and Frame Size
According to a Journal of Sports Sciences study, there is a strong correlation between ankle and frame size. Folks with a bigger ankle circumference than their peers are more likely to have a larger frame. 
Furthermore, there is a correlation between the ankle bones and the wrist and elbow bones. People with bigger ankle bones are more likely to have bigger elbows and wrists, allowing them to hold more muscle mass than individuals with smaller joints.
Notably, people with a higher body fat percentage will have a bigger ankle circumference than their counterparts with a normal BMI. In this case, it is better to evaluate your ankle width against the average.
Ankle Size and Health
Medical professionals often analyze your ankle size to screen for certain health conditions as part of a physical exam.
Edema, lymphedema, and arthritis are a few conditions that can be diagnosed by measuring your ankle circumference. Doctors measure ankle size using a tape measure or other specialized equipment to diagnose and monitor these health issues. Furthermore, you can monitor your ankle size to track your progress in these conditions over time.
Note: You must consult a healthcare provider for proper diagnosis and treatment if you have concerns about your ankle size or are experiencing swelling or pain in your ankles.
Large ankle size can indicate a higher chance of contracting certain conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes. Notably, frame size is just one factor that can contribute to these health risks. While assessing your health risks, you must also consider other factors such as diet, exercise, and family history.
Where should you measure your ankles?
You should measure your ankles just above your ankle bones at the thinnest point. However, doctors generally measure around your ankle bones, as it is a more effective way to diagnose certain health conditions that can cause swelling in the ankles.
Are both my ankles supposed to measure the same?
Generally, both ankles should measure roughly the same. However, you shouldn’t panic if your dominant ankle is slightly bigger than the other.
Also Check Out:
- Average Biceps Size: How Do You Measure Up?
- Average Thigh Circumference in Males and Females
- Average Calf Size for Men and Women
- Average Waist Size For Women and Men
- Average Chest Size For Men & How to Measure Your Chest
- Average Butt Size For Women and Men
This article covered the average ankle size and width for males and females, the factors that affect ankle size, and the implications of ankle size on your health and frame size. In short, it has everything you never knew you wanted to know about ankle size.
To sum it up, whether you’re trying to find the perfect pair of shoes, dealing with a health issue, or just curious about your body, understanding your ankle size can help you understand your physique better.
- Gordon, Churchill, Clauser, Bradtmiller, McConville, Tebbetts, & Walker, (1989, September). 1988 Anthropometric survey of U.S. Army personnel: Methods and Summary Statistics. United States Army Natick Research, Development and Engineering Center Natick, Massachusetts.http://tools.openlab.psu.edu/publicData/ANSUR-TR89-044.pdf
- Peters DM, Eston R. Prediction and measurement of the frame size in young adult males. J Sports Sci. 1993 Feb;11(1):9-15. doi: 10.1080/02640419308729957. PMID: 8450591.
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