How long does a Gout Attack in Foot last?
How long does a Gout Attack in Foot last? We answer!
A gout attack lasts several days and repeats itself every few weeks to several years. It is manifested by a sudden, intense and pulsating pain in a joint. The attack occurs mostly at night. It is important to know that the joints on the extremities of the limbs are more sensitive than the others. This is because they are colder and the cold can cause the uric acid to turn into crystals.
When the microcrystals of uric acid dissolved in the blood, and therefore present in all tissues, are in too high a concentration and the local conditions are favourable (in particular sufficient local acidity of the environment), they precipitate. In a joint, this precipitation leads to a local inflammation responsible for the gout attack. This preferentially affects the big toe joint (see figure 1), but also all the joints of the foot, hand, elbow or knee. Other joints are more rarely affected.
The attack begins suddenly, with often intense pain, which may wake the sleeping patient. The big toe (most often affected) is red, hot and swollen. The pain is pulsating. The attack will last from a few days to a few weeks (the first attacks are shorter and often less intense than the following ones).
Usually, especially in the first attacks, only one joint is affected. Later, several joints may be affected, or even the tendons (gouty tendonitis) or the periarticular bursae (gouty bursitis).
The most characteristic point is that the gout attack will disappear by itself, without any treatment and everything will return to normal without any after-effects… until the next attack. For several years the gout sufferer will have an attack from time to time (every one to two years), then the attacks will come closer together, but always, the interval between two attacks is normal. This is the acute gout phase.
Over the years, however, not only are the attacks more frequent, but the period between two attacks is no longer completely normal, joint pain persists, the joint becomes deformed (the X-ray shows this perfectly) and ends up being destroyed, giving less intense but permanent pain. The damage is now chronic and we speak of chronic gout. At this stage, reached after years of acute phase, the deposits of uric acid in the tissues are major (we speak of gouty tophus), sometimes visible under the skin. The most dangerous deposits are those in the kidney, which eventually stops functioning properly, leading to kidney failure and its ultimate treatment: kidney dialysis.