When the body builds up too much uric acid, individuals often experience a number of gout-related symptoms. It is known to be one of the more painful forms of arthritis, often beginning in the big toe. Caused by a number of factors, including poor kidney function, it’s important to recognize the symptoms as early as possible. Although there is not currently a cure, painful symptoms can be alleviated and effectively managed. Anyone who has dealt with gout knows from experience that finding a treatment that works is of the utmost importance. A gout flare up can be extremely painful. However, there are treatments out there that can relieve the unwanted symptoms very quickly.
Reduced Range Of Motion
Whether you’re having an attack or have endured permanent damage, your joints will not fully function. Due to inflammation or damage, your range of motion may be hindered. This means that both the distance and direction that a joint can move, will essentially decrease. This is especially common within one’s knee joints, however, some simple exercises can help prevent stiffness. If you’re experiencing inflamed joints, it’s best to seek advice from your physician. It’s important to remain active, reducing the possibility of overly stiff joints.
Due to the buildup of uric acid crystals, swelling often occurs. Generally starting in the big toe, associated swelling can quickly spread across the entire foot. This can make day-to-day activities challenging, especially for those who are on their feet during the workweek. As inflammation increases, swelling typically follows. You may also experience swelling within your ankles, knees, feet, elbows, and fingers. In some cases, swelling can spread into one’s calves. To find relief, apply cold compresses to inflamed areas.
Although painless, lumps of crystals can form below the surface of the skin. Once again, this is due to the buildup of uric acid, resulting in small white or yellow bumps. More disfiguring than painful, tophi can develop in undesirable and awkward places. Once tophi have developed on fingertips, for instance, it can be challenging to get dressed or complete common everyday tasks. Typically an indication of severe gout, it’s important to actively try and reduce the level of uric acid within your body to limit the development of these nodules.
Possible Kidney Stones
An occasional symptom and possible complication of gout, kidney stones develop due to high levels of uric acid. If you are experiencing a number of other gout-related symptoms, as well as abnormal urine - kidney stones may be the cause. Whether the flow of urine is abnormal or you’re experiencing pain as you pass urine, treatments are available to dissolve or remove these stones.
When a gout attack occurs, inflammation increases, along with pain and swelling. Once an attack subsides, individuals are often left with itchy, peeling skin. In more extreme cases, untreated gout can lead to flaking skin, deep cracks, and even bleeding. If this occurs, it’s critical that you keep the area clean - the last thing you want is an infection.
As you can imagine, the pain associated with gout is typically severe. In some cases, even a bed sheet rubbing against an affected area creates immense irritation and pain. Since attacks can affect the ankle, foot, wrist, hands, knee, elbow, or any other joint, pain levels can be overwhelming. As mentioned, the most commonly affected area is the big toe, resulting in extreme pain. Better known as podagra, this is often what doctors look for when reaching a diagnosis. This symptom can make it challenging to stand for long periods of time or even put one’s shoes on.
Red And Hot Joints
As gout attacks joints, swelling occurs, resulting in red, hot areas. When a joint becomes red and warm to the touch, this is generally a sign of active inflammation. This causes the affected areas to become highly tender, leading to the associated symptom of pain. In some cases, your skin will turn purple.
Gout can spread throughout the body, based on its inflammatory nature. When gout is affecting multiple areas, this is what’s referred to as polyarticular gout. As gout spreads, fever is a common symptom. The inflammation is what causes a low grade fever, which may also be accompanied by nausea and fatigue.
If you have gout, you can more than likely relate to severe pain during the night. In many cases, gout significantly disrupts sleeping patterns. Although pain can occur during any time, uric acid is more likely to crystallize when exposed to lower temperatures. Since it is generally cooler at night, patients can wake up to the feeling of immense pain. It can be challenging to fall back asleep and in extreme cases, patients develop insomnia. In order to sleep more comfortably, try your best to manage symptoms on a daily basis.
Often the earliest sign, joint effusion is when fluid begins to form around a joint. Although noticeable, the amount of fluid is fairly small. In some cases, when infection occurs, pus is released. Doctors can study this fluid to determine the cause, as a cloudy fluid with a golden color could indicate gout. Since cloudy fluid is associated with increased white blood cells, a sample could also indicate infection. Luckily, this fluid can be drained and then effective management strategies can be implemented. Follow these strategies in order to reduce the future accumulation of joint fluid.