Why Should Gout In The Hand Be Treated
Uncontrolled gout can lead to gouty tophi, when the crystals lump together. This can give the appearance of a mass under the skin. Uncontrolled gout can also lead to the destruction of not only the joint cartilage surface, but surround joints capsule, ligaments and tendons and even the skin.
Treatment for gout in the hand may require the assistance of a rheumatologist, a doctor that specializes in gout and placement on medicine to decrease the level of uric acid in the blood.
Treatments Your Physician May Prescribe
The goals of treatment of gout are to reduce the pain associated with acute attacks, to prevent future attacks from occurring, and to avoid the formation of tophi and kidney stones.Your physician may recommend one or more of the following treatments for acute attacks:
- Rest and elevation of the affected joint
- Anti-inflammatory medications, including ibuprofen, naproxen, or indomethacin
- Corticosteroids such as triamcinolone injections or prednisone pills
- Low-purine diet
Genes And Family History
Research over the past decade has increasingly identified a link between a genetic predisposition and high uric acid levels. For example, in a 2012 study, researchers looking at a large number of peoples unique genomes found that patients with gout often shared a similar variation on a gene that affects kidney function. A 2018 study further identified several genes that influence how the body gets rid of uric acid.
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What Can Increase Your Risk
A high level of uric acid in the blood is the main factor that increases your risk of developing gout. However, it’s still uncertain why some people with a high level of uric acid in the blood develop gout, while others with an equally high level don’t.
Other factors that may increase your risk of developing gout are outlined below.
How Will Gout Affect Me
Attacks can vary from person to person. Some people only have an attack every few years, while others have attacks every few months.
Without medication attacks tend to happen more often and other joints can become affected.
Having high urate levels and gout for a long time can lead to other health problems, including:
- narrowing of the arteries – which can lead to an increased risk of stroke or heart attacks or other heart problems
- osteoarthritis, which occurs when the urate crystals and hard tophi cause joint damage.
- an increased risk of developing kidney disease or worsening of the condition if you already have it
- kidney stones
- an increased risk of some cancers, especially prostate cancer
- mental health problems, including depression
- underactive thyroid
- erectile dysfunction in men.
If you take medication to lower your urate levels, and have a healthy diet and lifestyle, most of the damage and complications caused by gout can be stopped.
Treatments for gout are incredibly successful. There are two main parts to treating gout, which are:
- treating the acute attack
- treatments to prevent future attacks.
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Assessing Signs And Symptoms
What Can I Do During A Gout Attack
You should see your doctor when you have your first attack of gout. Your doctor will recommend certain medicines to reduce pain and inflammation caused by gout, including:
Always talk to your doctor or pharmacist before you start taking any medicines. You may also need to protect the affected joint. For example, if your big toe is affected you may need to limit the amount of walking you do and create a bed cradle to keep your sheets off your foot when youre in bed.
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Uric Acid Collections Around The Body
If you suffer from uric acid buildup, it can collect in more than one area. For gout, the buildup is typically in the joints, usually in the big toe joints and finger joints. However, uric acid can also accumulate within the soft tissue around the body, resulting in the development of hard nodules in your ear lobes, elbow, hands, and ankles.
This buildup of uric acid in the bodily tissues is called tophi by medical professionals. To identify tophi, your doctor may take samples of the crystalized material found inside these formations. This is typically done via biopsy of the nodule and can help confirm a gout diagnosis.
What Are The Symptoms Of Gout In The Elbow
The main symptom of gout in the elbow is pain and discomfort in the surrounding area. Keep in mind that gout is often unpredictable, regardless of the joint its affecting. You might go weeks or even months without any symptoms, only to wake up with a burning pain in your elbow.
In some cases, gout starts out in one of your big toes before moving on to other areas, such as your elbow. Over time, these flare-ups may last longer than they previously did.
Other symptoms you might feel from gout in your elbow include:
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What To Do During An Attack
- take any medication you’ve been prescribed as early as possible after you notice an attack this should start to have an effect within two or three days
- rest and raise the limb
- avoid knocking or damaging the affected joint
- keep the joint cool remove surrounding clothing and apply an ice pack, such as a bag of frozen peas wrapped in a towel
- ensure you’re well hydrated
Apply the ice pack to your joint for around 20 minutes. Don’t apply ice directly to your skin and don’t apply it for more than 20 minutes at a time because this could damage the skin.
If necessary, you can keep reapplying an ice pack to your skin during an attack, but you should wait until your skin has returned to a normal temperature first.
How Long Does Gout In The Elbow Last
Gout flare-ups can last for several hours at a time, but you may feel pain in your elbow for days or weeks. Some people only have one flare-up in their life, while others have them several times a year.
Keep in mind that gout is a chronic condition, meaning it lasts for a long time and requires ongoing management. Dietary changes and medications can make a big difference, but youll also be at risk of having a flare-up.
Keep in mind that it can also take some time to find the right combination of diet changes and medication that works for you. Dont be discouraged if things dont seem to be improving right away.
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The Four Stages Of Gout
Gout is best understood by seeing it as having four phases or stages :
Stage 1: High uric acid
Elevated uric acid without gout or kidney stone, this stage has no symptoms and is generally not treated.
Stage 2: Acute flares
This stage is marked by acute gout attacks causing pain and inflammation in one or more joints.
Stage 3: Intercritical periods
These are periods of time between acute attacks, during which a person feels normal but is at risk for recurrence of acute attacks.
Stage 4: Advanced gout
This is a stage of chronic gouty arthritis, in which there are lumps of uric acid, or tophi , frequent attacks of acute gout, and often a degree of pain even between attacks .
Figure 1: Stages of Gout
Figure 2: Illustration of Toe Joint with Gouty Tophus. normal toe joint Urate crystals, shown in white, at the “bunion joint,” represent a gouty tophus.)
Figure 3: Progression of Gout
What Are Future Possible Treatments Of Gout
Fortunately, present medications are successful in the vast majority of gout patients. But some patients cannot tolerate our present arsenal of gout medications. For others, these agents are not sufficiently effective. Therefore, new treatments are continually being sought. Some of the more promising include anakinra, rilonacept, canakinumab, BCX4208 and arhalofenate.
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What Happens At Your Appointment
The GP may ask about your diet and if you drink alcohol.
They may refer you to see a specialist and arrange a blood test and scan. Sometimes a thin needle is used to take a sample of fluid from inside the affected joint, to test it.
The blood test will find out how much of a chemical called uric acid there is in your blood.
Having too much uric acid in your blood can lead to crystals forming around your joints, which causes pain.
Signs Of Gout Or Pseudogout
Gout and Pseudogout are two types of arthritis than can appear suddenly and cause sore joints in the hands and sometimes in other parts of the body. This condition can be common in the elbow, wrist, finger, knee and big toe joints.
Here are 6 signs that you may have gout or pseudogout:
Gout forms when people make too much, or do not get rid of, uric acid. These acid levels can be raised, for example, by eating meat or seafood or by drinking alcohol. People suffering from obesity, insulin resistance, high cholesterol, heart disease, hypothyroidism and/or kidney disease also tend to have Gout. Physical fitness seems to be one of the best ways to prevent this disease.
Pseudogout, also known as calcium pyrophosphate deposition , has similar symptoms to Gout but is usually not caused by anything listed above. It can occur with pneumonia, heart attacks and strokes, after a surgery, or in people with thyroid problems, parathyroid gland problems, and those with high calcium and iron. In Pseudogout, many people will form the tophi as mentioned above. Unlike Gout, many will not have pain, swelling or redness.
This disease can be treated in a variety of ways. Arthritis cannot be cured, so the ultimate goal is to decrease pain. Here are some potential treatment options:
- Medication, including a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory ,colchicine or an other medication prescribed by your doctor or rheumatologist
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How Is Gout Diagnosed
If your doctor suspects gout, they may take a sample of fluid from the joint with a thin needle and send it to a laboratory for tests. Urate in the fluid might be seen with a microscope.
A blood test may also show elevated levels of uric acid . While it’s not usually used to diagnose gout, an x-ray may be used for people with gout that comes back to assess how much damage has been done to the affected joint.
Often, the diagnosis of gout is obvious, especially if you have had gout before. If you have not had gout before, or you are not sure what is causing your symptoms, see your doctor.
Symptoms Can Lie Dormant
While gout can never be cured, patients can find some relief in the fact that their symptoms will typically only last for a few days before they eventually subside. The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases says people with acute gout can go months without experiencing another attack.
Sadly its not all good news! The same source also notes that while the symptoms can go dormant for a long period of time, they will come back with a vengeance. Their attacks can become more frequent and last longer. According to Everyday Health, recurrent attacks are referred to as chronic gout and sometimes called recurrent gout or gouty arthritis.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Gout
Gout flares start suddenly and can last days or weeks. These flares are followed by long periods of remissionweeks, months, or yearswithout symptoms before another flare begins. Gout usually occurs in only one joint at a time. It is often found in the big toe. Along with the big toe, joints that are commonly affected are the lesser toe joints, the ankle, and the knee.
Symptoms in the affected joint may include:
- Pain, usually intense
How Is Gout In The Elbow Diagnosed
If you think you might have gout but havent been diagnosed, try to see a doctor while youre having symptoms. Gout is easier to diagnose when youre in the middle of a flare-up thats causing swelling, redness, and other visible symptoms.
During your appointment, your doctor will likely ask you several questions about your diet, any medications you take, and whether you have a family history of gout. This can help to rule out other potential causes of your symptoms, including an infection or rheumatoid arthritis.
Your doctor may also order a blood test to check your uric acid levels. But some people have high levels of uric acid and dont develop gout. Others have typical uric acid levels but still develop gout. As a result, theyll want to do some other tests as well.
An X-ray, MRI, or CT scan of your elbow can also help to eliminate other possible causes of joint inflammation. Depending on your exam, they may also order an ultrasound to check for the presence of crystals in your elbow.
Finally, they might do a joint fluid test. This involves taking a small sample of joint fluid from your elbow with a small needle and looking at it under a microscope for any uric acid crystals.
Based on the results of your exam and tests, they may refer you to an inflammatory arthritis specialist called a rheumatologist for treatment.
Theres no cure for gout, but a combination of medications and home treatments can help to manage elbow pain and reduce the number of flare-ups you have.
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Symptoms And Signs Of Gout In Foot
An attack of gout is often sudden. Symptoms:
- It may present with excruciatingly painful swelling of joints in the big toe, it is known as Podagra. The joint may be stiff and appear red or purple, very swollen, and tender to even light touch. Other gout sites include the instep, wrist, ankle, fingers, and knee.
- Skin may peel and itch as healing begins.
- An attack often begins at night the acute phase lasts up to 12 hours. If untreated, the inflammation may last up to two weeks. In 10 percent of people, acute episodes present in more than one joint.
- Kidney stones precede the onset of gout in 14 percent of patients.
- Chronic gout may develop, and it may affect more than one joint, mimicking rheumatoid arthritis.
- Tophi are soft tissue swellings caused by urate buildup in chronic gout. They may be found in the ear, fingers, toes, kneecap, and elbow.
Some people have a single attack of gout, others are affected intermittently, often when they have overindulged or experienced dehydration.
COMPLICATIONS OF GOUT IN FOOT
Its rare for complications of gout to develop, but they do happen and can include severe degenerative arthritis, secondary infections, kidney stones and kidney damage, nerve or spinal cord impingement, and joint fractures.
How Can A Gout Attack Be Prevented
Diet plays a key role diet in gout prevention: Since foods can directly set off gout attacks, patients with gout should receive counseling as to which foods are more likely to induce attacks. Losing weight is often also helpful. However, as important as diet is in gout, for most people with gout diet, and even weight loss, are not enough, and medications will be needed to get to their uric acid goal.
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How Is Gout Treated
Gout can be effectively treated and managed with medical treatment and self-management strategies. Your health care provider may recommend a medical treatment plan to
- Manage the pain of a flare. Treatment for flares consists of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, steroids, and the anti-inflammatory drug colchicine.
- Prevent future flares. Making changes to your diet and lifestyle, such as losing weight, limiting alcohol, eating less purine-rich food , may help prevent future attacks. Changing or stopping medications associated with hyperuricemia may also help.
- Prevent tophi and kidney stones from forming as a result of chronic high levels of uric acid. Tophi are hard, uric acid deposits under the skin. For people with frequent acute flares or chronic gout, doctors may recommend preventive therapy to lower uric acid levels in the blood using drugs like allopurinol, febuxostat, and pegloticase.
In addition to medical treatment, you can manage your gout with self-management strategies. Self-management is what you do day to day to manage your condition and stay healthy, like making healthy lifestyle choices. The self-management strategies described below are proven to reduce pain and disability, so you can pursue the activities important to you.