Joint Pain – Is it gout?

Joint Pain? You might be suffering from gout.

Some people suffer for many years with unexplainable pain in the joints without considering the possibility that it might be gout. Sometimes the symptoms are such that this is not immediately obvious. If you suffer from the same condition you must read on.

This disease more often than not first presents in the big toe joint, with the sufferer waking up in the middle of the night with a red, swollen, throbbing and incredibly painful joint. In cases like this a diagnosis of gout is usually quite simple.


However this is not the only way it affects the body. Your first ever attack may indeed be a typical attack, and you may have subsequent attacks that present in exactly the same way.

However it is possible to start experiencing symptoms that are not so obviously gout. It can affect any joint. It usually starts in the big toe, but it can move to your ankles, knees, elbows, hands and other joints.

An indicator might be that one or more joints start to become tighter and less flexible. At times they may swell up and sometimes even get hot and red. The pain might subside after a week or so, and then be fine for weeks or months at a time.

Another strange pain you might see is very sensitive fingers, in a really small spot just between the top knuckle and the fingernail. These can get quite red and very sensitive to the touch. You might be able to see little white spots inside the red areas. These can appear at random, might perhaps affect only one finger at a time, and can seemingly even switch fingers!

Stiff and sore elbows are another possible pain, sometimes accompanied by bursitis. Bursitis is a condition where the fluid sacs (bursa) surrounding a joint can swell up. This can be triggered by a bump on the elbow so might actually get passed off as an accidental knock, when the actual cause might be gout.

Some people experience a range of these issues, and because they can seem so completely unrelated, and cause different sorts of joint pain, it might never occur to them to link them all together.

If you have had this condition in the past and are experiencing different forms of pain in other body parts, it might be time to consider discussing this with your doctor, and raising the possibility of gout.

Joint pain from gout can cause permanent damage. It is caused by an excess of uric acid in your system, which can come out of solution and form microscopic needle-shaped crystals which deposit around your joints.

While these crystals are in your joints they are causing irritation and damaging the tissue. It is also possible for the body’s own inflammatory response to cause further damage if the inflammatory cells, which may be smaller than the crystals, rupture while trying to do their job.

Alcohol consumption increases your risk in developing gout.
by Cristiano Betta under CC BY
Alcohol consumption increases your risk in developing gout.

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If you do not change the factors leading to a high uric acid level then the urate crystals will continue to form and continue to damage your joints. Not attending to these issues early enough can leave you with stiffer and less flexible joints.

If you have ever had an attack in the past and continue to get pain in yourjoints, it might be time to make some changes in your lifestyle. When you are trying to cure your condition, there are certain foods (those high in purines) which you should be cutting down on or perhaps even avoiding. Being overweight and having high alcohol consumption are also factors believed to be highly correlated with the risk of getting gout.

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