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How do I know if I have Gout in my Foot?

How do I know if I have gout in my foot? Here the answer!

Gout is manifested by the occurrence of inflammatory joint flare-ups called “gout attacks”. The clinical diagnosis can be completed by complementary examinations.  For many people, the first attack of gout occurs at the base of the big toe. Then, gout attacks can occur in any joint, but it is the joints of the lower limbs – knees, ankles and feet – that are most often affected.

There are some warning signs of a gout attack. A gout attack may be preceded by:

  • Moderate pain in a joint: it hurts when you put your foot on the ground, when you bend your arm or your toes, …
  • Tingling in the joint: like “pins and needles”,
  • Discomfort: it is difficult to put on a pair of shoes, for example,
  • Limitation of mobility: it is difficult to bend the wrist, to clench the fist, to walk…

The benefit of the patient recognising this phase is that it allows early initiation of home remedies or anti-inflammatory treatment of the gouty attack.

The first attacks usually subside within three to ten days, but they can return and last longer if left untreated. Most people will have a second attack within a year. Over time, attacks may become more frequent, longer and affect more joints. Recurrent gout attacks can cause permanent joint damage. Early diagnosis and treatment are therefore essential.

There are many gout symptoms. The person with gout is awakened in the middle of the night by a sudden pain in the big toe. Other joints may also be affected: finger, elbow, knee or ankle. The joint is hot, red, swollen and extremely painful. The attack normally stops after a few days. The toe itches and peels. After an attack, it is likely that a new attack will occur months or years later.

The symptoms of a gout attack are :

  • Pain that comes on suddenly, often at night and/or at rest,
  • A pain that pulses: similar to a burning or crushing sensation,
  • Pain that persists for 6 to 12 hours,
  • The affected joint (often the big toe) is red, swollen, very painful and warm to the touch,
  • More rarely, fever and chills may be observed.

Gout attacks, which last several days, recur every few weeks to several years. They tend to increase in frequency and duration as the disease progresses, as do the number of areas affected. After a few years, small, painless nodules (tophi) may appear under the skin. In some cases, gout can also manifest itself as kidney stones.

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