Hello and thank you for the post. I am sorry to hear that your grandson is having this problem.
Please understand that this is a little bit of an unusual description so I kindly need some more information: how long has this been going on? Where exactly is the pain? Is it the same on both sides or more predominant on one side? Does he have other symptoms like fever, rash, etc? Is there a family of autoimmune problems (please let me know if you need me to explain this)?
Please get back to me and I will give you some ideas. Thank you, XXXXX XXXXX
For several months.
No rash, fever, etc.
Both ankles hurt bad, plus other joints like knees.
He is adopted. We have no family medical history.
Thank you for the additional information.
In adults, especially older adults, when the bones look "too close together" on x-rays, we usually think of osteoarthritis (the kind of arthritis you get from years of use). Osteoarthritis in someone your grandson's age would be almost unheard of.
Therefore I am suspicious that there is something more going on here. I can't give you a definite diagnosis, but I would ask your grandson's pediatrician about doing some blood work (a blood count, sedimentation rate, Lyme titers etc) to make sure there is no information available there. If these are unhelpful, then I might suggest asking about seeing a rheumatologist (an expert in joints/inflammatory problems) because this sounds more like a systemic problem rather than a localized bone problem.
I hope this helps. Please let me know if I can help further. Best of luck and I hope he does great. Sincerely, XXXXX XXXXX