What is Gouty Arthritis | Cause, Signs, Symptoms and Treatment

gouty arthritis cause symptoms and treatment

Gouty arthritis or more typically called gout is a form of arthritis that is indicated by sudden, severe attacks of pain, redness and tenderness in joints.  It is caused by sediments of needle-like crystals of uric acid and is a complex disorder.  Luckily this disorder is treatable and there are ways of maintaining it from recurring.

Cause of Gouty Arthritis

The cause of gout is an expansion of urate crystals that results in inflammation of the joint.  Uric acid is a waste product of the body formed from the breakdown of purines which would usually be flushed out by the kidneys through urine.  But occasionally when the body either creates too much or excretes too little of this acid, uric acid can build up creating sharp, needle-like crystals (urate) in a joint or surrounding tissue that generate Spain, inflammation and swelling.

These crystal sediments can also cause another circumstance known as false gout (pseudogout). But pseudogout crystals are created of calcium pyrophosphate dehydrate rather than uric acid. Although pseudogout can impact the big toe, it’s more possible to attack large joints such as the knees, wrists and ankles.

Signs and Symptoms of Gouty Arthritis

The signs and symptoms of gouty arthritis appear suddenly, often at night, without warning, however, these symptoms are almost always acute.

Intense Joint Pain

Gouty arthritis commonly involves the large joint of the big toe, but can also occur in your feet, ankles, knees, hands and wrists.  The pain usually lasts five to ten days and then discontinues, it subsides slowly over one to two weeks leaving the joint even normal and pain-free.

Inflammation and Redness

The joints that are involved become swollen, tender and red.

Lingering distress: 

After the most severe pain subsides, some joint distress may last from a few days to a few weeks. Later attacks are likely to last longer and involve more joints.

A narrow range of motion: 

As gout advances, you may not be capable to move your joints naturally.

Four Stages of Gouty Arthritis

Gouty arthritis can be categorized into four stages but does not usually progress when suitable treatment is given.

Asymptomatic Hyperuricemia

This stage doesn’t usually need treatment; in this stage, the individual has high levels of blood uric acid but no other symptoms.

Acute Gout / Acute Gouty Arthritis

In this stage of gouty arthritis, hyperuricemia has provoked deposits of uric acid crystals in joint spaces, leading to gouty attacks.

Interval / Intercritical

This is the period between acute gouty arthritis invasions, a person has no symptoms.

Chronic Tophaceous Gout

This is the progressive stage of gouty arthritis, where the illness has caused permanent damage.  However, most never progress to this stage with proper treatment.

Prevention of Gouty Arthritis

There is no accurate and sure way of preventing gout.  If you already have gout, the doctor may specify certain drugs to ease the risk or lessen the severity of future attacks.  Some of these medicines include allopurinol (Zyloprim, Aloprim) and probenecid. When taken daily, these medicines can delay the rate at which uric acid is created and speed its elimination in the body.  Typically, the long-term key to controlling gouty arthritis is keeping uric acid levels within a normal range.


Gouty Arthritis medicines are available in two types and focus on two different situations. The first type helps ease the inflammation and pain associated with gout attacks. The second type works to prevent gout difficulties by lowering the amount of uric acid in your blood.


People with gout can develop more-severe circumstances, such as:

Recurrent gout:

Some individuals may never experience gout signs and symptoms again. Others may participate in gout several times each year. Drugs may help prevent gout attacks in people with recurrent gout. If left untreated, gout can provoke erosion and destruction of a joint.

Advanced gout:

Untreated gout may provoke deposits of urate crystals to form under the skin in nodules called tophi (TOE-fie). Tophi can grow in several areas, such as your fingers, hands, feet, elbows or Achilles tendons along the backs of your ankles. Tophi usually aren’t painful, but they can evolve wollen and delicate during gout attacks.

Kidney stones:

Urate crystals may accumulate in the urinary tracts of individuals with gout, causing kidney stones. Medicines can help decrease the risk of kidney stones.

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