According to the Mayo Clinic, low levels of testosterone—a sex hormone in men—can cause a decrease in body hair. Testosterone levels are affected by aging—dropping slightly each year after age 50.
As testosterone levels drop you’re at risk for developing hypogonadism—a condition in which the body doesn't produce enough testosterone. According to the Mayo Clinic, loss of body hair—including ankles, feet, legs, chest, or back, erectile dysfunction, and loss of interest in sex are signs of low testosterone levels. If the only symptom you have is losing hair on your ankles, there’s probably a simpler reason. But if you are losing hair all over your body, and have noticed a difference in your sex drive, talk with your doctor about having your testosterone levels checked.
Hair grows from a follicle under your skin. Poor circulation can interfere with your hair follicles' normal operation. Ankle hairs eventually die and fall out but a new hair should begin growing in the same follicle; you normally don’t notice this normal hair growth process. Hair follicles receive nutrients from your bloodstream—poor blood flow can inhibit follicle function and hair growth.
Poor circulation to your ankles can be a normal part of aging, or a sign of a more serious condition. As you age you will notice less hair on your feet and ankles. Poor circulation can be a sign of a heart condition, blocked arteries, or diabetes. If you are losing hair and experiencing tingling, numbness, redness, or swelling--in your feet or ankles--talk to your doctor.
Poor circulation in your ankles could also be caused by shoes, socks, pants with elastic around the ankles'—sweat pants, or tight pants--leggings. Did you get new socks before noticing the hair loss, new shoes? Think about any changes, even changes in your job or activities. Are you on your feet for long periods of time? Lifestyle changes could be affecting your circulation.
Activities you’ve done for most of your life could eventually cause ankle hair to disappear. If you have worn high top shoes, like hiking boots or athletic shoes—for many years—the combination of friction and decreased circulation to your ankles could eventually cause hair growth to cease.
Lack of activity can also cause decreased circulation. Take a 30 minute walk 5 days a week; but make sure to wear loose socks and comfortable low-top walking shoes.
Stimulating Hair Growth
If you are in good health and have no other symptoms loss of ankle hair shouldn't be cause for worry. If you’re missing your ankle hair, try these things at home to stimulate hair growth. Put your feet up; when you’re sitting at home elevate your feet—above your heart—to increase circulation to your feet and ankles. Enlist someone to massage your ankles while your feet are elevated—massage increases circulation. Wear knee high socks if you have to wear socks, and avoid high top shoes for a month. Wear looser pants and avoid sweat pants or sport leggings for a month.