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The symptoms of gout usually come on suddenly and severely. A gout attack usually affects only one joint, most commonly, the joint of the big toe. However, the attack may involve more than one joint. Symptoms frequently develop overnight and worsen over the next 24 to 48 hours. Other affected joints can include the knees, ankles, feet, wrists, hands, fingers, and elbows.

Gout of the Big Toe
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Symptoms in the joint affected usually include:

  • Severe pain
  • Extreme tenderness
  • Swelling
  • Redness
  • Warmth

Other symptoms may include:

  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Overall sick feeling

Some people will only suffer one gout attack. Most people with gout, however, will suffer recurrences, especially if the condition is left untreated.

Possible complications of gout include:

  • Build up of uric acid deposits called tophi:
    • Hard lumps under the skin near or around joints
    • Hard lumps at the rim of the ear
    • Other parts of the body may be affected such as fingertips, cornea of eye, aorta, spine, or around brain
  • Permanent damage to affected joints
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome , a painful condition of the wrists
  • Kidney stones , if uric acid builds up in the kidneys
  • Kidney damage

Revision Information

  • Gout. American College of Rheumatology website. Available at: http://www.rheumatology.org/Practice/Clinical/Patients/Diseases%5FAnd%5FConditions/Gout. Updated September 2012. Accessed July 12, 2013.

  • Gout. Arthritis Foundation website. Available at: http://www.arthritis.org/conditions-treatments/disease-center/gout. Accessed July 12, 2013.

  • Gout. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed/what. Updated February 13, 2013. Accessed July 12, 2013.

  • Gout symptoms. American Academy of Family Physicians Family Doctor website. Available at: http://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/diseases-conditions/gout/symptoms.html. Updated March 2010. Accessed July 12, 2013.

  • Questions and answers about gout. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health%5FInfo/Gout/default.asp. Accessed July 12, 2013.

  • What is gout? National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health%5FInfo/Gout/gout%5Fff.pdf. Accessed July 12, 2013.