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Symptoms of Gout

The symptoms of gout usually come on suddenly and severely often called attacks. There may be a single attack of gout or recurrent attacks. A single gout attack usually only affects only one joint, but recurrent attacks may affect more than one joint. The big toe is the most common site of attacks. Other common sites include the ankle, heel, foot instep, wrist, elbow, or fingers.

Gout of the Big Toe
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Attack symptoms often develop rapidly overnight and worsen over the next 24-48 hours. Common symptoms in the joint include:

  • Severe pain and sensitivity of the joint
  • Extreme tenderness
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Warmth

Recurrent attacks can lead to permanent joint damage especially if gout remains untreated. Uric acids can build up and create deposits called tophi. They can lead to:

  • Hard lumps under the skin near or around joints
  • Hard lumps at the rim of the ear, fingertips, cornea of eye, aorta, spine, or around brain

High levels of uric acid in the body can also lead to complications in other areas of the body such as kidney disease.

Revision Information

  • Gout. American College of Rheumatology website. Available at: http://www.rheumatology.org/Practice/Clinical/Patients/Diseases%5FAnd%5FConditions/Gout. Updated September 2012. Accessed December 5, 2014.

  • Gout. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated August 28, 2014. Accessed December 5, 2014.

  • Gout. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health%5FInfo/Gout/gout%5Fff.asp. Updated July 2010. Accessed December 5, 2014.

  • Pittman JR, Bross MH. Diagnosis and management of gout. Am Fam Physician. 1999;59(7):1799-1806.