Gout Symptoms

The main gout symptoms are joint pain and swelling. Joint pain and swelling usually come on suddenly.

The first attack of gout usually begins suddenly in the night. Most commonly the joint of the great toe is involved. Pain suddenly begins in the joint followed by swelling. The joint feels hot, redness is seen and it is painful to touch and move. This picture can be confused for an acute infection.

Gradually the pain and swelling subside in 7 to 14 days, even without any medication. Now the patient has no symptoms. This symptom free period can last for days to months, till there is a new episode again.

photo of acute gout

This is a photo of a patient who has developed acute gout in his left great toe joint. You can see the redness and swelling.

The acute episode of gout may be brought on by the following conditions

  • excess alcohol intake
  • injury
  • surgical procedures
  • heavy diet
  • heart attacks
  • stroke
  • drugs that lower the blood levels of uric acid

Other joints that can be involved in an acute attack of gout are the foot joints, knees, ankles and finger joints.

Subsequent episodes of acute gout can also involve multiple joints.

As the disease process continues more and more joints get involved. Now the patient has chronic arthritis involving many joints.

80% of patients are males. In women, gout usually occurs after menopause. It is more common in women who have a high blood pressure and are taking diuretics.

Very rarely gout occurs in young women. In them it is caused by a decreased excretion of uric acid from the kidneys.

Uric acid crystals in gout can also get deposited around the joints, in the tendons and bursae. These deposits are called tophi.

Deposition of uric acid in the kidneys can lead to the formation of uric acid stones, this can occur in the absence of joint symptoms. Symptoms of renal stones and renal failure may develop.

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This page was updated on 13th November 2008

More on Gout...

Cause of Gout

Gout Diagnosis

Gout Treatment

Go back from Gout Symptoms to the Gout page


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