Arthritis is a condition in the body where a joint is inflamed, causing a dull pain or stiffness. Ankle arthritis is an inflammation of the tibiotalar joint, which connects the shin and ankle bones. Major causes of this type of arthritis include frequent or severe previous injury to the area (leading to weakness of the joint), Rheumatoid disease (which causes damage to many different joints), or infection to the joint (which may permanently damage the tissue, since joints or made of non-regenerative cartilage.)
When extraordinary strain is placed on a tendon, the flexible tissue that connects muscles to the bones, that tendon could become inflamed—a condition known as tendonitis. Sometimes, the condition also results from very small tears in the tissue, most likely caused by overuse or repetition of specific movements.
The tendon leading to tendonitis in the ankle is the Achilles tendon. Risk factors leading to a possibility of Achilles tendonitis include frequent walking or running and inadequate stretching and conditioning either prior to or following that activity. Tendonitis is more likely to occur in older adults, as tendons break down more easily with age.
Strains and Sprains
The difference between a strain and a sprain is the part of body affected. A strain is what occurs when a muscle or tendon is worn out or overstretched. Pain can develop over time as the muscle continues to fray, or it can come on suddenly when the tissue has been aggravated by an overzealous movement.
A sprain is an injury that results from a ligament that has been torn or overworked. An ankle sprain is noticeable immediately following the displacement and usually involves considerable pain. A sprain can result after falling or any movement that pushes the tendon to an unnatural position.
The plantar fascia is a long band of tissue that stretches from the lower part of the leg, over the heel, to the toes. When this band becomes inflamed, a sharp pain could be felt, most likely in the heel. This condition, plantar fasciitis, is one of the more common among those feeling pain in the bottom of the feet or heel. High risk factors for this condition are obesity or being overweight, frequent running, or anything else that might add undue strain on the fascia. Plantar fasciitis is more common in females, for unknown reasons, and also in older adults due to the wearing down of the fascia with age.