What is Gout?
It’s a form of arthritis that causes severe pain, swelling and tenderness in one or more joints. The most common place to get gout is where the joint of the big toe meets the foot. Around 56-78% of people with the condition will experience gout in this joint. However, any joint can be affected such as the ankle, knee, fingers, wrist, and elbow.
People will often experience sudden and intense swelling and pain in and around the joint known as a gout attack. People will often describe gout pain as feeling like the area is on fire. During this time, movement or any weight on the area can be excruciating. It can also cause the skin around the swollen joint to become hot and red.
The condition comes and goes meaning it will go through periods when the condition is active, known as a gout flare, and periods when there are no symptoms. An attack usually lasts around 5 to 7 days before improving. When there are no symptoms it’s important that you implement strategies to prevent flares.
Gout is more common in men and becomes more common with increasing age.
If you experience symptoms, you must seek medical advice as soon as possible. Untreated gout may result in joint damage and unnecessary extension of intense pain.
When diagnosing gout, your GP may ask about your family history, diet, alcohol intake and other factors. Sometimes your GP may refer you to a specialist called a rheumatologist. In some cases, a doctor may extract some fluid from your joint with a needle to test it for uric acid crystals.