5 Signs of Gouty Arthritis

There are more than 150 types of arthritis, and gouty arthritis is the most common inflammatory form of joint disease. In the United States, 4% of the adult population will experience gout, which most often affects men over 60. This number represents a significant rise over the past few decades, which means more people are developing gout. 

To help you identify gout, the knowledgeable podiatry team here at Neuhaus Foot and Ankle pulled together the top five signs that you should watch out for — and the earlier you recognize these signs, the faster we can take action.

1. Pain of a different kind

The primary symptom of gout, and the one that’s hardest to ignore, is pain. Gout occurs when uric acid builds up in your bloodstream, which is a condition known as hyperuricemia. As a result, this excess uric acid can form painful crystals in the tissues in your joints. The pain is often described as stabbing, like having needles or knives inside your joint.

While the interior of your joint is painful enough, the surface can become extremely tender, and even a brush with a bedsheet can become excruciating.

Another hallmark of gout pain is that it develops rapidly, and your worst pain usually strikes within 24 hours.

2. Location is significant

For men, gout usually attacks the large joints in their lower extremities, typically the big toes. In fact, approximately 50% of first-time gout attacks occur in big toe joints.

Women, on the other hand, tend to develop gout in their knees and they’re more likely to have gout in their upper extremities than men.

3. Nighttime flare-ups

Gout flare-ups often occur at night. There are several reasons why gout flares at night, including:

That doesn’t mean to say that gout can’t flare during the daytime, but nighttime flare-ups are a good sign that you have this form of arthritis.

4. Inflammation

Inflammation and swelling in your affected joints is another sign that gout may be present.

5. Changes in your skin

The final telltale signs of gouty arthritis include changes in your skin, such as redness and heat. You may also notice that your skin appears to stretch across the joint.

Treating gout

If you recognize any of the signs listed above, we urge you to schedule an appointment with our team so that we can bring you relief and recommend steps to prevent another gout flare-up. 

While there’s no cure for gout, a few dietary and lifestyle changes can go a long way toward avoiding the problem. For example, your body produces uric acid when you ingest foods or drinks with high purine content, such as certain meats, oily fishes, and alcohol. By cutting back on these items, you may be able to avoid a gout flare-up in the future.

If you suspect you have gout, your first step is to schedule an appointment at one of our locations in Hermitage, Brentwood, Nashville, Mount Juliet, Waverly, Smyrna, Gallatin, or Lebanon, Tennessee.

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