GOUT

WHAT IS GOUT?

Gout is a type of arthritis in which small crystals form inside and around the joints. It causes sudden attacks of severe pain and swelling. Many patients who have intermittent pain in the joints of their feet have gout without realising it.  Some of the pictures below show the tophus that builds  up around joints as a result of gout.

WHO CAN GET  GOUT?

  • In the majority of cases gout affects men, if it does develop in a woman it more likely after the menopause.

  • It's estimated that between one and two in every 100 people in the UK are affected by gout

  • A family history of gout is quite common

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF GOUT?

  • The big toe joint is most commonly affected

  • Other joints such as the ankle and knee are also commonly affected

  • Acute pain develops in the joint (usually one joint) over a few hours

  • Pain may last for a few days and then settle

WHAT CAUSES GOUT?

We know that gout is caused by a build-up of a substance called uric acid in the blood. Gout develops when there is too much production of uric acid and or an inability to get rid of this waste product through the kidneys.  Crystal of uric acid can become deposited in and around joints.  The body sees these crystals as a foreign body and hence an acute inflammation can develop. Click here to see an example of gout affecting the big toe joint.

Things that may increase your chances of getting gout include:

  • being obese

  • having a close relative with gout

  • kidney problems

  • eating foods that cause a build-up of uric acid, such as red meat, offal and seafood

  • drinking too much beer or spirits

TREATMENTS FOR GOUT AND GOUTY ARTHRITIS

Treatment for gout really falls into two categories:

 

  • Pain management

    • Treatment with strong anti-inflammatory medicines is helpful to reduce pain and inflammation

  • Prevention 

    • Drugs such as Allopurinol can help reduce the production of urate and so reduce the risk of further attacks​