Ankle pain … but not RA?

I have had very severe ankle pain since Thursday – but I don’t think it can be RA because it’s on the outside of my ankle. My anatomy is pretty poor but I’ve done some Google searches and some reading and I don’t think the outside ankle joint is a synovial joint – no synovial joint, presumably no RA? Could it just be a sprain? I don’t see how because I have no recollection of spraining it or going over on that ankle or anything, so I really don’t know what’s going on.

I have been pretty unsuccessful at keeping it up – I did keep it up for most of Friday and cancelled work and two different plans to see friends, but when it came to cancelling our wedding anniversary plans I … erm … forgive the fun … put my foot down! We had a lovely wedding anniversary lunch in Norwich on Saturday – but maybe pounding round the shops beforehand wasn’t such a great idea? Although having said that, we did buy a new bed, which is something that’s been on the list for quite a while and which could help with all these problems, since it’s always worst at night.

Now there’s a thing – I’d figured (until I started looking up ankles in Wikipedia etc.!) that it must be RA because it was either RA or osteo and osteo would be worse if I walked on it, not at night in bed … but now I’m thinking perhaps I’ve just sprained something.

Any thoughts to help out a confused Penguin would be much appreciated!

Of course, like the recent hip pain, I’ll be delighted it if it isn’t RA-related as I needn’t start panicking that the methotrexate isn’t doing its job!


7 thoughts on “Ankle pain … but not RA?

  1. Dear Polly. I am so sorry you’re having such pain (but delighted that you had a lovely anniversary day!). A while back I wrote a post about the fact that once you’re diagnosed with RA, it’s hard to look at aches and pains without having on your “RA glasses”. ( But since that time I’ve come to the personal conclusion that if RA isn’t the direct culprit, it’s certainly a contributor. The outside ankle pain might actually be referred pain from deeper inside the ankle. Also, as you know, RA can attack anywhere — not just synovial joints. Since you don’t remember hurting it, I’d say that RA is your number 1 suspect. It sounds like you’re doing all the right things. The only other suggestion I’d have is an ankle brace. I have one that is similar to Ace bandage material that just slips over my foot like a sock. It helps keep everything in place and reduces swelling. I do hope you “get back on your feet” soon (literally). And very happy anniversary!

    1. Thanks Carla, I think you’re probably right on all counts – it IS hard to look at any pain without the RA glasses – but no, I didn’t know RA could attack non-synovial joints – interesting!! I DO have a sort of stretchy support bandage thing that I’m wearing at the moment and that does seem to keep the swelling down.It’s not really a brace so much as an elasticated bandage though, so perhaps a ‘proper’ brace would work better. Thanks for the anniversary wishes too!

  2. I’m sorry your ankle is hurting, but I’m glad I’m not the only one with this kind of confusion! I just wrote a blog post called “Wanted: Pain Whisperer” about the fact that I have so much trouble figuring out what kind of pain I am having and why. I did actually sprain my ankle last year and spend two weeks walking around on it without seeing a doctor because I thought it was just the usual RA stuff. Anyway, you can read the post at and let me know if you relate!

  3. I recently had the same experience after going on a trip. My ankle was swollen and Ibuprofen helped. But that night I couldn’t get it in a comfortable spot. The pain was severe. I tried an ace bandage but it needed a splint. My wrist had done the same thing and splinting it worked. I now have a splint for my ankle if it ever happens again. I couldn’t put weight on it at first. I never know if it’s osteoarthritis, mind-body syndrome or my RA. Hang in there!

  4. Sorry your ankle is hurting. You may want to got to Mayo Clinic’s symptom checker to get a better idea about the source of your ankle pain: to determine which physician you should see. Back in July, I started experiencing sharp, tearing pain on the side of my knee. It was a slow onset, the pain got worse, but it felt different from RA pain (got worse while walking, throughout the day, etc.) After visits to urgent care, my primary care physician, my rheumatologist (even though I felt it was not RA-related), an MRI, and an orthopedist, I was diagnosed with a torn meniscus (not caused by an acute injury, but simply by old age!!). Hope you find out soon what’s causing the pain and swelling.
    And … Happy Anniversary!

    1. Thanks Carol and Gisela, in a strange sort of way it’s good to know that other people find this whole is it or isn’t it RA just as confusing! Gisela, I tried that Mayo site but it gave me 20 options for my problem including RA, OA and ingrowing toe-nails (HUH?) I guess I needed to be more specific but I can’t see how. 🙂

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