Gout is a condition attributed to excessive uric acid in the joints. The acid reaches a high level in the blood and forms monosodium urate crystals which make their home in the joints. The joints become inflamed and painful.
You usually realize that you have gout when your big toe becomes swollen. Inflammation at its base is very noticeable. It becomes excruciatingly tender — painful to the touch. Even a whisper of touch from a bed sheet can cause a shoot-out of extreme pain. Other joints are not exempt from gout. Knees, ankles, fingers – all these can become swollen in the joints and painful to move.
Even if you do not do anything to address the pain and swelling, the painful episodes tend to stop on its own after a couple of weeks. It is possible to feel no pain at all during this time. The swelling may subside completely also. However, the condition is bound to return after some time. It may affect the same area, or it may recur but in a different joint.
Over time, gout episodes become more regular and frequent, each attack lasting for a more extended period. The initial attack may only hit one or a couple of joints. Subsequent ones may affect more joints, sometimes with pain occurring at the same time. When there is no significant pain, this does not mean that you are home-free. There may still be inflammation in the joints which when left unattended may cause more injury to the joints. People with gout have also been found to be prone to develop kidney problems.
Uric acid crystals can be found not only in the joints. The earlobes, elbows, and Achilles tendon (located at the base of the ankle) may all show these crystals, referred to in medical terms as tophi. These tophi may not cause pain. They help a physician diagnose the condition. Your doctor takes out clusters of these tophi and subject them to microscopic clinical tests.
Many individuals get the idea that they may have gout from the following common gout symptoms:
Gouty arthritis usually begins in the middle of the night. While you are asleep, the synovial fluids which cleanse the joints fail to stream effectively enough to wash out toxins and waste products. This makes it possible for the uric acid crystals to pile up in the joints, causing inflammation and the accompanying extreme pain. If you went to bed pain-free and arose the next morning with an incredible pain in your joints, it is possible that you have gout.
Some people link the pain to a sprained toe or ankle but cannot for the life of them remember the instance when the sprain occurred. If you cannot recall how the area was twisted or pulled, it may not have been sprained at all. The pain can be ascribed to gouty arthritis.
An injured toe or ankle will usually recover from the injury after a couple of days. If the pain does not recede at all but is, in fact, becoming worse as the day’s pass, it is highly possible that you have gout.
It is possible for gout to manifest in one area, and then in another. So, you may begin to feel the pain in your big toe, then later find the same pain experienced in your knee, elbows, wrist, or finger. If this is the case, this is no ordinary injury. It is likely to be gout.2016-08-08