Gout is an excruciating condition whose damage is primarily to the foot, specifically the big toe. It usually affects patients with arthritis and results from the formation of sodium urate crystals around the joint, which then turn into short, sharp, needle-like particles that cause unbearable pain in the joints. In addition, gout patients must also endure a condition called hyperuricemia, which occurs when uric acid increases in the blood. But science shows that not everyone with high blood uric acid levels can suffer from gout. In addition, when hyperuricemia becomes chronic, it promotes the formation of uranium crystals in the joints.
-Gout affects everyone, but studies suggest that it particularly affects men over 30. There are many causes of uric acid in the joints: some are related to diet, genetics, alcohol, a diet high in purine protein, joint injuries and even medications.
-Diet is the main culprit in gout. That being said, the disease is triggered by high uric acid consumption, which can be attributed to alcohol, meats and seafood. In addition, hydration can also play an important role. Thus, drinking certain beverages such as coffee, tea and alcohol certainly promotes gout. In addition, medications such as diuretics (for blood pressure) or medications that compromise the kidneys can also cause gout.
So! Read this article to learn more about the symptoms of gout.
- 1: Pain In The Toe
Gout patients usually first encounter podagra as a symptom, which is severe pain in the big toe. It is one of the main signs of gout and denotes high levels of uric acid in the diet. The discomfort can last for hours or even days and spread to the entire foot, hands, wrist and knees. This occurs when purines are broken down in a diet containing mackerel, anchovies, beer or beef liver.
-Uric acid is normally excreted in the urine after passing through the kidneys. This means that when high amounts of uric acid are present, it is difficult for the body to get rid of it effectively. This in turn generates a build-up of uric acid in the joints and in particular in the toes, which leads to unbearable pain and even the inability to walk as usual.
Don’t click the button yet! The following pages present other symptoms of gout that are also worth highlighting.
- 2: Swelling
Gout is known for the swelling it causes, which sometimes causes patients not to wear jewelry. The swelling is accompanied by redness, which means inflammation. All of this causes excruciating pain in a number of joints in the body. Sometimes the pain can disappear in a few days, sometimes it can persist for long periods of time, leading to long-term inflammation of the joints.
On the other hand, the redness can also spread throughout the body, starting with a toe and moving up to the knees or even higher, making normal daily activities, such as walking, more difficult to perform.
- 3: Sudden Pain
During a gout attack, flare-ups may occur suddenly and appear spontaneously. This can happen after walking for a long time or waiting too long in a standing position. A sudden attack can occur at any time and cause intense pain, which starts in the toes and moves up to the shoulders, legs and lower limbs. This explains the spontaneity of this condition. One minute you are fine, the next you are crippled. At this point, diet is about the only solution, in addition to some prescribed medications, rest and cold compresses to combat the intense inflammation.
Acute gouty arthritis is the most common clinical manifestation of gout. It rapidly progresses to extreme pain, swelling and tenderness of the joints. Symptoms usually manifest themselves as extreme localized and sharp pain, often felt at night. It reaches its limit within 12 hours and causes redness in the first metatarsophalangeal joint which is located in the foot. The existence of crystals in the joint fluid, which induces sudden discomfort and subsequent deterioration of the arthritis, is the main basis for the diagnosis of gout.
- 4: Skin Peeling
When the tissues surrounding the affected joint begin to erode and weaken, the skin stretches. This creates red, flaky, irritated skin that begins to peel. It can look more or less like a sunburn.
This condition usually occurs after the flare-up has lasted for an extended period of time. When the signs of gout occur, it means that uric acid has already been building up in one or more joints for a long time. Therefore, as soon as pain is felt, seek medical advice. In some cases, bleeding may also occur due to skin peeling and inflammation.
- 5: Pain At Night
It is not strange to have a new gout attack within a year of the previous one.
There is a typical time for gout pain which is at night and sometimes even during sleep. Therefore, gout sufferers may wake up in the middle of the night with horrible pain, which prevents them from sleeping peacefully and deeply. After all, keep in mind that gout is fairly unsystematic, which means it can strike at any time, but the pain is usually most intense at night.
If you are experiencing a gout attack, any movement, such as rubbing or crossing your legs, can make the pain worse. Even a subtle touch or movement by the person next to you can sometimes cause discomfort. And so walking or standing can be excruciatingly painful.
- 6: Hot Sensation
As with any inflammation, there will certainly be some sensation of heat around the inflamed area. The heat is then transferred to the skin as a fever or hot flash. The skin will feel warm to the touch, especially where it is red. However, once the swelling goes down, the feeling of heat will also go away.
So, placing something cold like an ice pack on the affected area can help ease the sensation more quickly and reduce the inflammation. If you suffer from gout, it is essential to keep a bag of crushed ice in your freezer. As soon as the gout hits, wrap the bag in a towel and apply it for 30 minutes. In addition, make sure you drink enough water, as this helps flush uric acid from the body and reduces the risk of stone buildup in the kidneys. That being said, you should drink about 16 cups of beverage a day, at least half of which should be water.
- 7: Fever
Because of the inflammation caused by gout, chronic, low-grade fever is another troublesome symptom that can be experienced as gout spreads throughout the body. Polyarticular gout is when the gout spreads throughout the body and is the main cause of the fever.
Sometimes the inflammation can be so extreme that fever and flu-like symptoms can occur. This can be a symptom of infection. Therefore, if you have a fever and notice that your joint is hot and inflamed, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.
- 8: Kidney Stones
Gout can be a particularly debilitating condition, which can eventually lead to kidney stones. The resulting buildup of uric acid migrates into the urinary tract, causing kidney stones and severe pain. That said, gout and high uric acid levels are indicators of kidney disease. The latter denotes the malfunctioning of the kidneys for at least a 3-month period. This means that uric acid is not being removed from the body properly.
Unfortunately, kidney failure cannot be reversed, but it can be delayed. Therefore, treating gout early is always a good thing to prevent your kidneys from malfunctioning.
When gout is left untreated, the buildup of kidney stones causes significant damage to the kidneys and prevents them from removing waste products, putting them at risk for infection. In addition, the sharp edges of uric acid can also cause scarring of the kidneys, leading to kidney failure.
See a doctor if you notice blood in your urine or if you have severe discomfort in your abdomen and back. These are indications of kidney dysfunction and can be so severe that you may experience nausea as a secondary symptom.
- 9: Chronic Tophaceous Gout
This can happen if the gout is left untreated and its effects spread throughout the body. It usually takes 10 years for this to develop. At this stage, the joints, skin and soft tissues develop rough nodules, called tophi, which also develop in the ears. This stage causes irreversible damage, which is why it is very important to treat gout at an early stage, to save the body from any chronic pain.
- 10: Limited Range Of Motion
The British Society for Rheumatology reports that “intra-articular tophi limiting the range of motion of the knee joint is a rare but important cause of walking disability in gout patients.” It is therefore crucial to have an MRI test to diagnose subcutaneous tophi above the knee, which are difficult to diagnose but should never be ignored.
It is the duty of all physical therapists and trainers to be attentive to all cases with a history of gout. They should focus on managing and protecting the affected joints during acute episodes of gout. Research indicates that cryotherapy, or “cold therapy,” can help relieve the acute pain of gout. In addition, proper and regular exercise and attention to excessive weight bearing are essential to mitigate the effects of gout.