ZocdocAnswersIs all joint pain due to arthritis?

Question

Is all joint pain due to arthritis?

I have a lot of joint pain in both of my ankles. Is this due to arthritis? Does joint pain mean that you have arthritis if it won't go away?

Answer

Pain in the ankles can be due to a number of things. One of the most common cause of chronic ankle pain is from repeated ankle sprains from sports injuries. This can lead to chronic instability of the ankle joints, and it can require intervention from an orthopedic surgeon to help repair the defect. Another common cause of foot pain that might be confused with ankle pain is trouble with low arches or with plantar fasciitis, which results in pain on the bottom of the foot that can radiate up the ankles. This generally responds to supportive shoes, anti inflammatory medications, and ankle and foot stretching and strengthening exercises. Finally, arthritis in the ankles can also occur. This is more common both in those who had sports injuries as young adults and also in older adults who also have arthritis in other locations. The most common form of arthritis in this location is osteoarthritis, or 'wear and tear' arthritis, which has no definitive cure, although again more severe cases may be amenable to intervention by an orthopedic surgeon. If you have not yet talked to a doctor about this, I would recommend that you go to see your primary care doctor as a first point of contact.

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