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Symptoms of Gout

Gout attack symptoms often develop rapidly overnight and worsen over the next 24-48 hours.

  • They can be triggered by many things including:
    • Joint injury or other trauma
    • Surgery or sudden, severe illness
    • Psoriasis flares
    • Infection
    • Certain medications, such as chemotherapy, diuretics, or intravenous contrast media
    • Crash diets and fasting
    • Drinking too much alcohol
    • Eating large portions of certain foods high in purines
    • Dehydration (not getting enough fluids)
    • Fructose sweetened drinks
  • They can happen one time, several times, or chronically.

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 gout. Other sites include the ankle, heel, foot instep, wrist, elbow, or fingers.

Gout of the Big Toe
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Common symptoms in the joint include:

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

Fever and flu-like symptoms may also be present.

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 the brain

High levels of uric acid in the body can also lead to complications in other areas of the body, such as the kidney stones or chronic renal failure.

Revision Information

  • Gout. American College of Rheumatology website. Available at: http://www.rheumatology.org/I-Am-A/Patient-Caregiver/Diseases-Conditions/Gout. Updated April 2015. Accessed February 24, 2017.

  • Gout. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115215/Gout. Updated September 2, 2016. Accessed February 24, 2017.

  • Gout. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niams.nih.gov/Health%5FInfo/Gout/default.asp. Updated April 2016. Accessed February 24, 2017.

  • Gout symptoms. Arthritis Foundation website. Available at: http://www.arthritis.org/about-arthritis/types/gout/symptoms.php. Accessed February 24, 2017.

The health information in this Health Library is provided by a third party. Redmond Regional Medical Center does not in any way create the content of this information. It is provided solely for informational purposes. It does not constitute medical advice and is not intended to be a substitute for proper medical care provided by a physician. Always consult with your doctor for appropriate examinations, treatment, testing, and care recommendations. Do not rely on information on this site as a tool for self-diagnosis. If you have a medical emergency, call 911.