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Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis that can cause pain, swelling, and degradation of bone depending upon the location. Gout is sometimes caused by the abnormal metabolism of uric acid. People with gout either produce too much uric acid (diet) or their kidneys are not able to remove enough uric acid from the body. As a result, this uric acid builds up, causing episodes of pain and swelling in some joints. The big toe joint and ankle joint are most commonly affected in the feet; however, gout can form at any joint.


    • Kidney problems
    • Certain foods high in uric acid, such as shellfish, alcohol, and steak
    • Heredity
    • Medications (diuretics, aspirin)
    • Trauma to joint


    • Inflammation, swelling, and redness
    • Intense unilateral (one-sided) joint pain
    • Limited range of motion in the affected joint
    • Large deformity of joint as a result of uric acid deposits (tophii)
    • Occasional ulcerations caused by tophii


Treatment for this disorder is almost always conservative. First-line therapy includes treating the symptoms (the inflammation and swelling) by use of anti-inflammatories or cortisone injection. For more significant symptoms, specialized gout medications may be prescribed on a short-term basis.

If the gout is recurrent, the patient would benefit from long term anti-gout medication to lower the blood’s uric acid.

Surgery would only be recommended for longstanding untreated disease where large deposits will need to be removed to regain function of the joint.