Ankle Joint Breaking Down, chronic pain, young, help

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New Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 1/25/2010 3:19 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi everyone,

I'm a guy in my 30s. For the past 3 years or so, I've had chronic pain in my ankles and feet. Both ankles, though the right one is worse. I can basically stand on them for about 3 hours or so and then I'm done.

I had a job in retail for that time and was on them 8 hours a day, without rest, at the end of the day, I would not be able to walk it would be so bad, and the cycle would repeat.

I went to a doctor about the problem and was extremely vague about a possible diagnosis, suggesting that it was osteo-arthritis, after taking x-rays, but that there was nothing that could be done for the pain, and even surgery would not cure it, but seemed determined to do surgery to correct the bone on my duck footedness, which although not asthetically pleasing, does not cause me the massive PAIN. I've had THAT all my life.

He refused to suggest any other treatment for my pain even though I told him that the pain was so bad it caused me tears and that I could not walk. He only put me on a prescription for motrin, and the doctor told me that those are simply the facts of life, that he has to stand all day, grrr. I feel like the medical community has not helped me one iota.

I get conflicting messages from them. It's "gout", it's not "gout". It's "osteo-arthritis", but your pain is unimportant, but lets cosmetically fix your duck footedness, which admittedly won't help the pain. Argh.

Finally I lost my job six months ago, so now I'm out of medical insurance, and can't see a doctor. I have ZERO support in my life, my mom passed away, and my dad dismisses my pain saying it is "not his problem" and that I have "not earned" the right to be disabled. He has actually said that to me.

I am so frustrated and at my wits end with this as I feel it has ruined my life. I fear I will become a "cripple". I have friends but they are active, and as such it is viewed as being "lazy" and "out of shape" because I am overweight, when in fact it is not the overweight that caused the pain, but the pain that is contributing to the overweight.

Is there anyone else here that is young and has arthritic or is otherwise in severe pain, but because you are young or appear young, people don't take you seriously or tell you you haven't "earned" it?

I'm so angry I want to scream. At this point, I know I will not be able to have another job where I have to be on my feet all day, and I am losing the ability to walk, am in constant mild to heavy pain depending on length of time spent on feet, and am gaining weight with my pain meds (ibuprofen).

I'm frustrated and feel trapped like in one of those nightmares where you try to scream and nothing comes out, or you try to run and you can't even walk. Well I'm slowly losing the ability to walk, though I force myself to do so. I had a great aunt who died at the age of 40 of crippling arthritis so it is probably genetic.

And I have no real support system whatsoever. My dad tortures me by telling me to "get it fixed" and if I'm "a cripple", he won't take care of me. But if it is truly osteo-arthritis, it simply won't be able to GET fixed.

I don't want to be a burden. So my question is, what do I do? Right now I have no medical coverage. When I do get some, or even if not? What doctor can I see to get them to take my pain issues seriously? What about supporting myself in the future if I can't even walk? Disability benefits, how? I'm not sure I want to go that route, I'm scared and want a future for my life.

As of now, I'm staying with my dad, but that's getting old for him and for me, and I don't want to be a burden. Help, lol. I'm pretty scared of what's to come. And, I'm worried I'm gonna be left behind if I'm looked at as some sort of weak, helpless person. When I go out with friends as it is, I usually trail behind as they march ahead of me, thinking I'm just "out of shape", argh.

Thanks for listening.

solar powered
Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 538
   Posted 1/25/2010 10:35 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi there painfulfeet. Welcome to Healing Well. There is a group of wonderful people here to help support you through this difficult time. They can be like a new family for you since it is really apparent that your own family and friends aren't doing such a good job of it. That is very unfortunate and I feel badly for you about that. I have had foot troubles myself but not the same as yours so I can't give you any specific insight on that but I do have chronic pain so maybe I can say a few things in general. I really think you need to see another doctor, maybe even a orthopedic surgeon who specializes in ankles and feet. I understand you don't have insurance but can you get state-funded insurance? OR maybe your dad will help pay that especially since he is the one who keeps telling you to get it fixed, etc. I think you need a definitive diagnosis first and then go from there. There is always hope. It may not be completely "fixable" but I am sure that the pain can be controlled better for you and your functionality increased. Don't ever give up the search to find some healing and comfort. Please, please, please don't think of yourself as weak regardless of what others say. They don't have a clue what you are going through so have no right to make that judgment. You will have a future regardless. It may not be exactly what you expected or wanted but it will be there and you can make it OK somehow because you have to. That is just the way it is. Life goes on through the good and the bad but it is up to you to decide how you are going to go through it. Attitude is sooo very important. I know having a good one when you are in so much pain is extremely difficult but you can do it and we are here to help you because we do understand. I know myself having somewhere to turn when things are going bad is so comforting so please don't be shy about turning to us. We're here and open 24/7. Please take a deep breath or two to help push some of that anger away and remember that you are not alone in your struggles. I hope you find some comfort in that knowledge. Take care, Lisa
If I can laugh at it, I can live with it.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 2976
   Posted 1/25/2010 10:41 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi painful,

Welcome to HW. I'm sorry that you have to join us under such circumstances, but this is a wonderful place to come for friendly support and understanding.

Wow! It sounds like you have a lot going on. Have you ever considered seeing a pain management specialist. That's a doctor that deals only with pain patients. It doesn't matter what type of pain you have. PM doctors perform pain relieving procedures & injections, recommend alternative therapies, such as PT and acupuncture, as well as prescribe a variety of medications from nerve medications and antidepressants to pain meds (however, be aware that some PM's only do procedures & don't prescribe -- you probably want one that does both). Many primary care doctors don't want to get involved with CP patients. If you're not getting the help you need from your doctor, definitely ask for a referral to a pain clinic. The PM doc can also help diagnose your problem or send you to other doctors who may be able to help figure out what is wrong.

I can relate to the youngness thing. I'm only in my early 20's & I've certainly been through a fair share of doctors who wouldn't take me seriously or treated me poorly because of my age (had CP since I was 18). It takes a while to find a team of doctors that are right for you, but you'll get there. For every bad one you come across there is a good one -- you just need to keep searching to find them.


Mrs. Dani
Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2009
Total Posts : 2787
   Posted 1/25/2010 12:51 PM (GMT -6)   
   Dear Painful,
      Good morning. My name is Dani and it is a pleasure to meet you. I am very glad you found The Healing Well community and I would like to send you a warm welcome! 
     It sounds like your have been in pain for a long time. I am sorry to hear that. I too have areas that are arthritic.... so I know how relentless that type of pain can be. All I can suggest is perhaps re-training at your local vocation school for a job that has you "sitting". If you are a "long term resident" of your state, most states will pay for most, if not all, of your school. Then all you will need to do is pay for books (or find grant to pay for books). That way the end goal will be to keep you off your feet for the most part.
      I know it is frustraiting when we want the doctors to "fix" the pain. If you are in anyway, uncomfortable with your doctors treatment options, never be afraid to change. One thing I have noticed so far, is that they want to "fix" areas that will cause even more problems or "effect other areas negativly" as I age. You see I am 29 now. I was 27 when pain knocked me flat 24/7. (In my heart I think I had warning signs before that...but I dont want to get off track. ) My doctors whole goal seems to be trying to prevent further damage and repairing damage where/when they can. The "pain" aspect has never been even remotly addressed in a manner that suggested "getting rid of" but more of making me "comfortable to continue living". Perhaps that is the case with you?
     I cant give you advise in the "family" area as I don't really understand those types of relationships yet. Sorry I am not much help in that area right now thou...
     I am sorry it is hard to be with friends. Perhpas there are other things you can do together? Like a comedy club? Or things like that you could do once in while, but where you can also sit and be somewhat comfortable? I know its hard when friends dont understand that your body "just cant go". When I first came here to Healing Well that is one of the fisrt things I noticed we all hand in common.... that our friends turned out to be much different people. *hugg*
You said ~~>" Is there anyone else here that is young and has arthritic or is otherwise in severe pain, but because you are young or appear young, people don't take you seriously or tell you you haven't "earned" it?"
      ...Well, at first, the first doctor I met when I was 27 kinda treated me that way. He apologized perfusely to me later while I was being wheeled into surgery. I could tell he was very very sorry. But, I will never consider him in a professional manner nor would I ever suggest his name to anyone as a care giver. I know he was sorry, I really do. But a simple x-ray could have told him all he needed to know. He didnt have to treat me like that. One of my current specialists knows him. I really do understand how sorry he is... I think sometimes people forget? To have compassion for other? Who knows. All we can hope is that they learn from the experience and never treat others the way they have treated us.....
      I don't know if ibuprophen can cause weight gain. I take a "type" of ibuprophen (relofen) along with my pain other pain medicines. I have the opposite problem. I have to consume alot of protien because I burn alot of calories with the amount of pain I am in. I eat 4 to 5 times per day and am still only 115 - 120. Has anyone ever suggested that perhaps it could be an allergic reaction of some kind? When you do find a new doctor mention it for sure.
      I think perhaps you should call your states local health and human services thou.. It wont be easy. But, they will be able to cover you with insurance while you are looking for employment or training for something new. I would start, once you are approved, with interviewing primary care physicians. Once you have found one he/she may be sent to pain management, rheumatologist, orthopedic, etc.. It will all take a very very long time to get the ball rolling in the right direction and will likley be frustraiting, but, well worth it in the end.
      It is good that you have somewhere to live while you are going through such a time in your life. But, again I am unsure about family dynamics in that reguard yet... 10yrs ago when I needed help with reguards to housing while training for a new job the local human services were able to help me out a little bit. Not much, but enough to get things on track. Give your states local center a call, maybe they can help??
     Angain, it was a pleasure to meet you. I do hope to get to know you better as time goes by. Try to relax if possible.



Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood



Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 1/25/2010 6:12 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi, Painfulfeet,
I also want to welcome you to the chronic pain forum of HW. I'm sorry you have to be here, especially at such a young age. I'm twice your age, so your question about others who are younger is best dealt with by some of the people who have already responded.

I do want to say though, that not only can I relate to pain, but I was laid off a couple of years ago after having back surgery and with the economy and my age and health issues, filing for disability appears my only option. I do think you need to do some of the things Dani suggested - such as calling your state's resources for Medical Assistance to see if you're eligible, and contacting your local unemployment office to see if you're eligible for that as well as some vocational retraining.

Yes, certain types of ibuprofen can cause water retention, which contributes to the weight gain. These generally are the types that have a sodium molecule in them - such as naproxen (it's actually naproxen sodium) and alleve. I can't take those, but can take the generic ibuprofen I get. I think it's mostly the longer acting forms that may have the sodium molecule, and you could check with your local pharmacist about the various types that may contribute more or less to weight gain and maybe switch types. Just a thought.

Hope this helps a bit. Again, welcome.


Stella Marie
Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2005
Total Posts : 601
   Posted 1/25/2010 9:11 PM (GMT -6)   
I sorry you are having so much pain.  I can relate, because about two years ago I broke my talus (ankle) bone by stepping off a sidewalk.  The orthopedic I saw thought it was just a bad strain and kept putting it in different splints and ordering PT.  I finally got a second opinion; it was broken and now that so much time had passed it healed without the edges of the bone being aligned correctly.  So now, I have horrific osteoarthritis, constant pain, and a deformed ankle.  I am now treated by the chairman of a major teaching hospital.  Their recommendation was a permanent ankle brace to limit mobility and help support the ankle when I stand.  It has helped, so I would definitely seek a second or third opinion.  As for pain, orthopedic doctors do not usually get involved with long-term chronic pain.  For that, you will need to see a Pain Management specialist.  I know it sucks, but with the correct treatments by the right doctors, it can become bearable.  Do not give up.  There is hope; you just have to start looking for  doctors that can help you.
Good luck and keep us posted.

Stella Marie

Moderator for Chronic Pain and Epilepsy

Rare neurodegenerative /movement disorder called “Multiple System Atrophy”.  Mobility issues,, neuropathic pain,  spasticity, myoclonus, central apnea, collagenous colitis, joint and body pain, swallowing and respitory  involvement,  Implants: intrathecal pump & neurostimulator.  Extra features: O2 & wheelchair.



Regular Member

Date Joined Oct 2009
Total Posts : 453
   Posted 1/25/2010 9:48 PM (GMT -6)   
It doesn't matter how old or young we are nobody should have to endure constant pain and more often than not most of us do. You have some excellent suggestions listed above and I really don't have anything to add but I would apply for unemployment and follow up with disability so I would have some income. You won't be able to get better without the tests and etc, etc, that the docs do to find out what is wrong. I'm sorry you have to deal with the pain and feel so alone, this is a wonderful site that is compassionate and at least you'll sombody to vent to and with. Take care I care.

Elite Member

Date Joined Jul 2005
Total Posts : 12014
   Posted 1/25/2010 10:29 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi!  I'm sorry you are experiencing such pain so young.  I just wanted to add a couple of things:
Ibuprofen can cause fluid retention.  So it could be that some of the weight you are gaining from being inactive is, in fact, fluid retention.  Watch your salt intake and fluid intake and that might help some with that problem.
I would apply to your state's Vocational Rehabilitation Program for testing and job training in an area where you could work sitting down (as a computer tech or in computer graphics, for example.)  The testing and schooling are free.  I have gone through them twice in my life.
I would also suggest seeking another opinion from an orthopedic surgeon and a rheumatologist.  I don't feel that you've gotten a firm diagnosis.  It could be that you have rheumatoid arthritis or a variation of it.  There are many other joint diseases that can cause pain.
It can sometimes take a long while to get Medicaid or SSI.  If you are in or near a large city, try a teaching hospital.  They offer free clinics and meds to people with low or no income.
Best of luck to you!
Forum moderator - Hepatitis
"But that was yesterday, and I was a different person then."
Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 9090
   Posted 1/26/2010 2:12 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi there....

As you can see you have an entire family here more than willing to support you. We can share our experiences and be here whenever you need someone for the emotional side. It's a wonderful bunch of folks here.

Have you read the Chronic Pain 101 thread at the top of the list? In there are some ideas for those who need help with insurance or medications. These days that's a lot of people. One place to try is your local Red Cross. They're not just on the job when a hurricane hits but whenever someone need help. Members have gotten insurance and lots of help from them in the past. No promises what they can do for you but you need to give them a try.

Also, if you were working and now have medical reasons for not being able to work then you not only qualify for some disability pay but also you should be able to get grants for retraining. I'm sure you have a community college not too far from where you are if you're in the US. So, give a call and make an appointment with a counselor for an assessment test. It's easy and they will find out what you might do well in for a career. Then you can go to their financial aids office and apply for help to get that training. If you have medical issues it's even easier to get the retraining. I think all states have retraining programs.

There's lots of help out there and there are good doctors who will treat you. Get to a university/teaching hospital near you. They can go on a sliding scale/no free arrangement. No one needs to live in pain and go untreated.

Please stay in touch...your new family here cares about you...
"Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit, but Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad."

(> <) Co-Moderator Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Forums
Fibromyalgia, PTSD, UC, Diabetic on insulin, collapsed disk, arthritis scattered around and a few other delights.

Forum Moderator

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 13366
   Posted 1/26/2010 2:49 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Painfull and welcome to Healing Well. I am also very glad that you found us but always hate to see a new person come along that is suffering too. Please know that you are not as alone as you thought you were in this mess. We have a great support system right here for anyone that is willing to participate.
I truly cannot add any more than what the others have already told you in ways of getting help. I am so sorry that you have trouble with your father, but the important thing is for you to get busy checking out some of these places the others have spoken of. Alot of people are not aware of the many programs out there that are run by the state you live in. As far as I know every state has Medicaid which is insurance for people with no income and no job. That will get you medical treatment either at no cost or very little cost. Please do check into the CP101 as Chutz suggested there is alot of info there that can help you too.
Please let us know how you are progressing along and getting some much needed help. Again, welcome aboard we are glad to have you.

crohns disease dx 2002 & small bowel resection, still looking for remission whatever that is, chronic pain 22 yrs, added ulcerative colitis 6-05 to the mix, high blood pressure 28 yrs, aortic heart valve insuffiency, depression, osteoarthritis, osteoporosis lumbar spine, scoliosis lumbar spine, peripheral neuropathy hands & feet, COPD & on oxygen therapy, lupus & psoriasis and psoratic arthritis. Several other health issues just not enough room to list it all. Too many surgeries to list and too many medications to list. Currently on 17 different daily medications. Intrathecal pain pump implanted June 05.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 1670
   Posted 1/26/2010 3:38 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi PP,
I can only echo most of your replies, because its both feet it makes me feel it may be some form of arthritis and a rheumy is where you should be headed. But I'm not a doctor, I suffer from rheumatoid arthritis and both my feet are currently involved. Both swollen around my ankles plus the top of my small joints in the meta tarsels plus the bases of my big toes. I can totally relate to not being able to stand for any length of time.

Its the symmetricalness that makes me feel it could be an auto immune road you should be travelling. Don't give up, keep looking for someone to help, goodluck, golitho

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 21
   Posted 1/26/2010 10:29 PM (GMT -6)   
Your post reallly touched me. I can fairly say that I utterly relate regarding many of the things you said particularly having zero support: I myself have none either. Moreover, I am the same bracket age as you: 38 year old. I have had 3 disc herniation and all the due pain that comes with it and as a result, have lost almost everything: first went the job then my savings to my kids (from every other week to every other week-end). Now, I'm living in  sorry 2 1\2 in a basement, fighting depression, going through withdrawals every now and then (price to pay not to be in pain all the time) and trying to get back in the saddle AGAIN! It gets tired though to spring back up just to fall back all over again. Sorry dude, should try and give you some hope instead but from my own experience, not much of a success story there. If that's worth anything, they are people just like you, alone in their predicament. I understand and I hear you about every single thing you said.
I know about the frustration too to see people going about their lives and getting ahead, making things happen and not being able to follow the troops, not because you don't want too but because you can't. You want a life and you are entitled to one. In short, your feelings are totally legitimate and you should not let anybody make you believe otherwise.
Good luck and hold tough!

New Member

Date Joined Jan 2010
Total Posts : 7
   Posted 3/27/2011 8:04 PM (GMT -6)   
I'm very late in replying to this forum, but I wanted to thank you all so much for your kind words, they mean a great deal to me.

Just an update, I haven't been able to solve the problem, but at least because I'm still out of work, the pain has decreased muchly as I'm not on them anymore, although I'm certain it will return once I get on my feet again. Here for a new problem though, but at any rate, I just wanted to thank you all so much. I had lost the address of the forum, is why it took me so long to return.

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2011
Total Posts : 230
   Posted 3/29/2011 1:57 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Painful, and welcome to the family.
I'm sorry you're experiencing such horrid pain, and worse, that your own father doesn't seem to believe you. It's bad enough when doctor's disbelieve our pain and what we endure, but to have your own family. I have been there, though it was my boyfriend who was convinced I was faking it, that I was being lazy, that I was a hypocondriac. It doesn't help those of us with chronic pain at all, as it's devistating to our emotional state.
"Is there anyone else here that is young and has arthritic or is otherwise in severe pain, but because you are young or appear young, people don't take you seriously or tell you you haven't "earned" it?"
I'm in my late 30's now, infact my birthday's next month, and for 3 and a half years now I have lived with chronic pain as my new companion. It's very hard to adjust to this new life, to learn to pace myself, what my limits are, and how far I can push them before I do to much harm to myself. It's been a learning experience for my family too, as they're my support team. Even my son has had to learn just what his mother can and can not do with him; which is hard on him given he's 8 now. To add to my chronic pain I also have mildly arthritic knees from a rough life-style -- auto accident, martial arts accident, and a horse back riding accident have all taken their tolls. But if you were to pass me in the store you'd never know the pain I live with. Yes, people who don't know me find it extremely hard to believe that I'm permanently disabled, that the "disease" I have will only get worse with time (as it's already proven in the last 3 years), and often when I ask for assistance they look at me for a long moment and you can almost hear their thoughts. "Is she really that lazy?" "To good to do get dirty and do your own work?" For a long time it made me not want to ask for help, but recently I have learned that it's not worth the pain it causes me... so I just endure their looks. The hardest part is when I ask for help and I get none.
I'm hoping you've filed for unemployment, but if not, have you looked into state medicaid? I know I didn't qualify when I got unemployed; told me I made to much to qualify for it. But when my unemployment ran out I was able to get it, and it pretty much covered everything. In the mean time have you seen  Pain Management Specialist yet? That was specialist number 7 for me, but he was also the one to finally figure out what was wrong with me. All my lab work was normal, my x-rays were normal, even my MRI's were normal, yet I was constantly in unbearable pain from in my right wrist and hand... with time it included my elbow, now it includes up to my sholder and a bit of my neck, making my entire right arm (my dominant one of course) pretty much painful even when I do little things like hold a cup of coffee. The worst times are when I'm laying down, doing nothing with it, and it hurts, and no matter how I lay I can't get it comfortable.
You will find that you'll always have a support team here for you, incase you haven't figured that much about all the wonderful folks here. They have  wealth of knowledge and compassion, so don't ever be affraid to post because you need to vent. I know my email link is clickable, and I'm always happy to provide an ear to chew on.
As for your friends, do they know what you're dealing with? Do you think if they did they might cut you some slack and ease up with their teasing?
I know you may feel like a "cripple" or that you're a burden, but you're not. You do have alot to adjust too, and it won't happen over night. For the longest time I alternated between sad that the life I knew was gone, and this was my new life... or angery, angery that this happened to me, angery about how I was treated by some doctors; especially the one that told me "I can't find anything wrong with you, there for you're obviously fine." I was angery and hurt over the boyfriend who was convinced I was faking it, that I was just being lazy, that I didn't want to get a job, that I was happy to live with my parents, that I was a hypocondriac... and who eventually left me, and two months later was married to a coworker of his -- and we'd been together for about 5 years and engaged. I was angery at the man who wanted to be my husband and my son's father, who said he understood, but in the end didn't. Nor could he deal with my disability and kept telling me to give up doing everything I loved, to stop putting myself in pain (I'm in pain regardless what I do, but I'm also supposed to fight my condition and use my arm so that it doesn't completely atrophee and have to be removed) because my pain got in the way of his happiness.  So I do understand what you're going through. It seems unless someone deals with chronic pain they just don't understand what we live with, but if they could spend a day in our shoes they might be a bit more understanding, supportive, and compassionate.
That isn't to say all people are bad, and that there aren't kind, caring, helpful and compassionate people out there. But I'm really glad that you found this place, I know I cried tears of joy when I did... to finally be understood, and actually meet others who deal with the same rare condition I have. You will always find people here that will be here to help, and to listen. So remember, you're not alone, you're not a bad person, and you're not a burden. Please keep in touch. *hugs*

Originally injured 10/26/2007 - Initial diagnosis; Tendonitis
Spent next year seeing specialist after specialist; Bone, Muscle, Hand, Neurologist, Chriopractor, Physical Therapist...
Went through a battery of tests, multiple MRI's
11/16/09 I was finally diagnosed CRPS - Stage 2
Permanently disabled, on Percoset.
February 2011 successful SCSU trial
No surgeon willing to do my SCSU Implant
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