Tophaceous Gout - When Things Have Gone Too Far

What Is Tophaceous Gout?

Tophus (singular) and tophi (plural) are the accumulation of monosodium urate crystals on joints in the body where there has been gout build-up. The process that causes tophi is the increase of serum uric acid, which induces the formation of MSU (monosodium urate) crystals and these crystal accumulate in one place, forming tophi - which look to the naked eye like knobby-shaped, chalky-like lumps and bumps. They are usually accompanied with swelling and redness, indicating inflammation and obvious pain.

It Doesn't Happen Overnight

It takes many years of gout attacks before tophi appear, and they do not invariably appear as a result of gout. It is estimated that about 25 percent of gout sufferers have tophi to some degree. Tophi can be especially problematic for elderly sufferers of gout, especially if they are unable to use some of the new drugs available for the treatment of tophaceous gout.

Tophi are able to grow in a couple of different ways - one of which is from the original location where it causes joint pain and bone damage, or in new locations in the body in tissues and tendons. Tophi are the reason for the massive swellings, misshapen joints and unsightly skin bulges colored with purple-red, inflamed skin. It seems that tophi are more inclined to occur in areas of the body that remain colder, such as the lower extremities (like toes), which are farther from the heart.

How Did It Get To This Stage?

How do people develop tophi gout? Often, when remedies and medications either take too long, or don't seem to be working, people give them up. Dealing with treatment drugs may be challenging for some people and the idea that they "only get one or two attacks a year and can live with that", keeps them from being diligent with a medicinal regime.

The truth is that tophi may not be benign - they can grow in a joint, for example, and ultimately attack the bone and destroy the joint. The result is hindered mobility and possibly additional pain not related to the gout. Tophi can also become ulcerated and septic. A septic condition can lead to septicaemia, a bacterial blood infection, which is very serious and life threatening. They can also become filled with pus and burst, their chalky-crystal mass erupting outside of and onto the skin.

Drugs, Surgery or a Combination of Methods To Heal Tophi

There is another way, outside of drugs, to deal with tophaceous gout, and that is surgery. However, surgery for trophi is not available worldwide at this point. You may have to check to see if this treatment option is available in your area.

There are natural ways to control and manage and even heal gout. However, once it has gotten to the tophi stage, there is little evidence that natural methods of treatment have been very successful. Of course, drinking enough water and eating a low purine diet help to reduce uric levels. A combination of these natural methods along with one of the new drugs for gout treatment can be very beneficial in treating tophi gout.