When I'm getting ready to flare, my ankles swell on me first...it's a like a warning sign for me. They usually swell to the point that I cannot walk or drive. It usually takes 2 weeks for the swelling to go down enough to hobble around without the aid of crutches. Sometimes I get lucky and it only takes a week.
My GI had NO idea why my ankles would be swelling until I mentioned Crohn's Arthritis and asked that he refer me to a Rheumy. The Rheumy immediately picked up on the fact that it was Crohn's Arthritis and wanted to immediately put me on Remicade or Humira. I said "No thanks - not until my INTESTINES really need it or I go a year without being able to walk." I can handle swollen feet for 2 weeks...
She said it wasn't my joints swelling...it was the tendons connected to the joints. So an X-ray of my feet wouldn't do any good as it wouldn't show anything. An MRI would show swelling of the tendons. I thought that was interesting as I just assumed it was my joints swelling.
I, too, feel like an 80-90 year old when I get this. The swelling ankles are bad enough but usually an all-over body
aches comes along with it.