Gout: Dr. Rosemary Leonard advises on symptoms and treatment
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Gout can cause sudden and severe joint pain which is most common in areas around the end of your limbs – like your ankles, feet, knees and fingers. While symptoms of ankle gout can be easily confused with sprains or cellulitis, there are a few telltale signs which can help you spot the difference. With everything from pain intensity to mobility playing a part in detecting ankle gout – these are the key arthritis symptoms you should never ignore.
What are the symptoms of gout in the ankle?
Discomfort is a key sign of a health issue when it comes to our bodies and ankle gout is no different.
The sudden and unpredictable nature of gout can make it easy to play off as a sudden injury, like a sprain.
Some of the key symptoms of gout are based on pain levels and the appearance of the affected joint.
In cases of ankle joint, the following symptoms tend to be the most common, according to medical website Healthline:
- Heat – your ankle is warm to touch
- Limited range of motion caused by severe pain
According to the NHS, it is estimated that between one and two in every 100 people in the UK are affected by gout.
The condition mainly affects men over 30 and women after the menopause.
Overall, gout is more common in men than women, though there are a range of factors including diet and lifestyle habits which can contribute to gout.
High levels of uric acid eventually form sharp crystals which cause sudden bouts of pain, swelling and tenderness, says medical website Healthline.
Three signs your ankle pain may be gout
Gout which affects the ankle joint can often begin in the big toe and spread to other areas like your ankle, though this isn’t always the case.
Distinguishing ankle pain from gout can be difficult, but paying close attention to the appearance and type of pain you’re experiencing is generally a good way to determine whether you’re suffering from gout in your ankle.
1. Changes in the skin
Redness and swelling are a good indication of a health issue when it comes to joints like your ankles.
During a gout flare-up, the skin over the ankle joint area is often a bright red, says Healthline, adding that shiny and warm skin around the joint can also indicate gout.
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2. Severe pain
Swelling, stiffness and sensitivity can lead you to experience severe pain around delicate joints.
Gout in the ankle is known to be very painful and extremely sensitive to touch – even light contact with fabrics can be excruciating.
Intense swelling and inflammation will make your ankle extremely hard to move.
If your ankle is lumpy and too painful to move, it is likely that you’re dealing with gout.
Healthline’s Dr Seligman added: “Those knobs are likely tophi, which are deposits of uric acid that stay chronically in patients with severe gout.”
A dull ache that turns into severe stiffness in your ankle is typical of gout and should not be ignored.
3. Sudden flare-up
One of the most common signs of gout is a sudden onset of severe pain around an isolated joint.
Arthritis Charity, Versus Arthritis explained: “When you have gout, urate crystals can build up in your joints for years without you knowing they are there.
“When there are a lot of crystals in your joints, some of them can spill out from the cartilage into the space between the two bones in a joint.”
It is these tiny hard crystals that rub against the soft lining of the joint and cause the excruciating throbbing, swelling and inflammation which is typical of this condition/
This is the process that leads to an attack or flare-up of gout.
Other symptoms of gout include:
While visible symptoms and painful joints are key symptoms of gout, high levels of uric acid can also present itself in different forms.
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, Dr Sumera Shahaney, GP and Head of Clinical Operations at Thriva said:” High uric acid levels are also associated with kidney stones, of which the symptoms include: pain and aching in your lower back, abdomen, or groin, foul-smelling urine that’s painful to pass and feelings of nausea.”
If you suspect you have gout you should always reach out to a medical professional for advice or treatment.
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