Pain Beyond The Toe

Gout Strikes Beyond The Feet

Approximately 90 percent of people who experience a gout attack for the first time have excruciating pain in the big toe. However, the big toe is not the only place where gout attacks. It can hit in any joint in the body because gout is the result of uric acid build-up in the body. The excess uric acid forms crystal deposits in the joints of the body. Places in the foot, other than the big toe, that can be affected include the instep, heel, and ankle. Moving up the body, the knee, finger, wrist, and elbow are all targets for this painful disorder.

Regardless of where the first attack hits, it usually happens at night and the affected joint becomes swollen, inflamed, red, and very tender. The pain is almost unbearable. More than half the people affected with a gout attack will experience another attack within a year of the first one. At the outset, an attack of gout will usually clear up in three to ten days. However, if precautions are not taken to address the issue, or preventative action is not taken, the gout attacks may become more frequent, they may last for longer periods, and affect more joints in the body.

When Gout Gets Out Of Hand

When gout becomes chronic, the constant presence of uric acid crystals in the body causes painful inflammation in more joints and the soft tissue surrounding the joints. The chronic inflammation also signals destructive changes in the joints, which lead to arthritis and rheumatism. Older people who have chronic gout may find their fingers and other joints inflamed at the same time. This type of gout is called poly articular gout and if it remains untreated, regular attacks can lead to a condition called Chronic Tophacerious Gout. This condition usually manifests within a decade or two of the initial attack.

Tophi Cause Pain, Disfigurement And Suffering

The formation of tophi characterizes chronic tophacerious gout, as the name implies. Tophi are deposits of uric acid crystals that lay directly under the skin in the affected joint area. A small lump appears which may not be detected right away. As it grows, it can pierce the skin and form hard chalk-like nodules. Tophi can be found on the outer ridges of the ears, forearms, elbows, hands, fingers, knees, and feet. They are not sensitive to the touch, but they can generate terrific pain, immobilizing a joint and causing stiffness where they appear. This difficult to treat type of gout can also cause malformation and disfigurement wherever it appears.

If you have suffered from gout, be sure to get treatment and take preventative action. Gout can become chronic and spread to other joints in the body if left untreated.