Symptoms Of Gout In The Ankle
Healthcare providers can sometimes misdiagnose gout in the ankle as a variety of conditions, from a sprained ankle to other types of inflammatory arthritis like rheumatoid arthritis. Some symptoms might distinguish gout from other ankle conditions. These include:
- Pain: Other ankle conditions cause ankle tenderness and pain, but gout pain is so painful that it stands out. Something as simple as a bedsheet touching the affected gout can bring on severe pain.
- Stiffness: Stiffness from gout starts as a dull, mild ache and turns severe quickly.
- Color: An ankle affected by gout is often very red. The skin of the affected ankle might appear shiny.
- Swelling: Intense swelling is common in ankle gout.
- Warmth: The inflamed ankle will be warm to the touch.
People who experience gout in the ankle find it can affect joint movement. It makes walking painful, especially when going up and down stairs.
Pain Accompanied By Skin Changes Could Be Gout
If you’re unsure whether your ankle pain is gout, it might be wise to consider what’s happening on the outside of your body, as well as on the inside. Visible skin changes are common when it comes to gout, with your skin likely taking on a red tinge or swelling up. This is most common with acute gout attacks and is caused by what happens when uric acid builds up in your system, as the Hospital for Special Surgery rheumatologist Theodore R. Fields explains via Creaky Joints. “Urate crystals are released into the joint fluid and cause an inflammatory reaction, bringing in many white blood cells and releasing inflammatory chemicals that cause the pain, redness, and swelling,” Fields states.
Your skin might also feel hot to the touch and especially tender, says Versus Arthritis. Additionally, it might look shinier than usual. As your gout attack starts to calm down, one skin change that can occur post-attack is peeling, as your skin starts to heal and regenerate. Applying a cold compress to your skin during a gout attack may help to bring redness, swelling, and pain down, although it’s generally better to use this line of treatment if your pain isn’t especially severe .
How Are Gout Attacks Prevented
Maintaining adequate fluid intake helps prevent acute gout attacks and decreases the risk of kidney stone formation in people with gout. Alcohol is known to have diuretic effects that can contribute to dehydration and precipitate acute gout attacks. Alcohol can also affect uric acid metabolism and cause hyperuricemia. It causes gout by slowing down the excretion of uric acid from the kidneys as well as by causing dehydration, which precipitates the crystals in the joints.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Gout In The Ankle
The main symptom of gout in the ankle 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 ankle.
In some cases, gout starts out in one of your big toes before moving on to other areas, such as your ankle. Over time, these flare-ups may last longer than they previously did.
Other symptoms you might feel from gout in your ankle include:
Cold Therapy Treatment For Gout In Feet And Ankles
Gout is an often-painful affliction that can cause recurrent attacks of arthritis when gone without treatment. Gout generally occurs at the metatarsal-phalangeal joint at the base of the big toe, causing a red, swollen joint. This can also be accompanied by a throbbing sensation that leaves the toe both tender and hot. Though it is most prevalent in the big toe, gout can also be found in other joints such as heels, knees, wrists and fingers. The AnkleAid ice bath offers relief and treatment for gout pain in feet and ankles.
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What Else Could My Ankle Pain Be
While ankle pain can be created by gout, it’s important not to jump to conclusions. The fact is that ankle pain may be caused by a huge variety of conditions affecting your bones, joints, tendons, or muscles, as the Cleveland Clinic states. It may even be as simple as a sprain, an injury that is characterized by damage to the ankle ligaments that may occur during a sporting activity or by simply rolling over it. Tendonitis, a condition whereby the tendons become inflamed and damaged, may also be what’s creating your ankle aches.
In other situations, the pain could be created by something other than your ankle entirely. If you have flat feet, for example, your ankles can take the additional strain and become painful and inflamed due to the lack of arch support in your foot. Generally, your physician will determine what’s causing your ankle pain through a series of tests, which may include an X-ray or an MRI scan. Generally, ankle pain is treated using a combination of cold therapy, resting the joint, elevating your ankle and foot, and pain or anti-inflammatory medication, but for other conditions like gout, additional treatments may be required.
How Is Gout In The Ankle 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 ankle 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 ankle.
Finally, they might do a joint fluid test. This involves taking a small sample of joint fluid from your ankle 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 ankle pain and reduce the number of flare-ups you have.
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How Long Does Gout In The Ankle Last
Gout flare-ups can last for several hours at a time, but you may feel pain in your ankle 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.
How Do You Get Rid Of Gout In Your Ankle
– over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs , such as ibuprofen – prescription-strength NSAIDS, such as celecoxib or indomethacin – corticosteroids, which may be taken orally or injected into your ankle joint to help ease pain and inflammation.
Gout, Pathophysiology, Causes, Symptoms, Risk Factors, Diagnosis And Treatments, Animation.
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How To Know If Your Gout Is Progressing
As you become more familiar with gout symptoms, you may be able to sense that a gout attack is coming on. Worsening of pain, swelling, redness, and warmth of the affected joint during the attack is the sign of progression of that attack, Dr. Meysami says.
In addition, the disease overall may progress with recurrent or more frequent gout attacks with longer duration, the involvement of more joints, and the presence of tophi, Dr. Meysami says.
If you have more than one gout flare a year, its really important to get on a regular gout medication, says Dr. Fields.
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.
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Can It Lead To Any Complications
If left unmanaged, gout-related inflammation can cause permanent damage to your ankle joint, especially if you have frequent flare-ups.
Over time, lumps of uric acid crystals, called tophi, can also form around your ankle. These lumps arent painful, but they can cause additional swelling and tenderness during a flare-up.
Are You At Risk
Men are three times more likely to experience gout than women. This is because estrogen, a female sex hormone, is protective against developing high levels of uric acid in the bloodstream.³
The risk of gout also increases with age. Men older than age 40 or women who have gone through menopausewhen estrogen has declinedare more likely to develop gout.³
Other risk factors for gout include:
- Obesity or being overweight. The body may produce more uric acid and have more difficulty discarding it.³
- Having chronic health conditions. This includes heart disease, high blood pressure, metabolic syndrome, diabetes, and poor kidney function.²,³
- Taking diuretics. Also known as water pills, these are intended to help the body discard more fluids but can also increase gout risk.
- High consumption of added sugars. These sugars can be found in foods and drinks like those with high-fructose corn syrup.³,
- Eating a diet high in purines. This includes food like red meat organ meat or seafood like anchovies, sardines, mussels, scallops, trout, and tuna.²
- Drinking alcohol. Excessive amounts of alcohol can reduce kidney function, and some drinks, particularly beer, are also rich in purines.
- Having a family history of gout. This may predispose an individual to develop gout.³
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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.
Kidney Stones Might Accompany Your Pain
If youve had a gout attack, youll know that you have enough on your plate to deal with, what with that frankly wild pain and all. But having kidney stones to contend with too? Sometimes, life really is unfair. The presence of kidney stones, however, can be a clear sign that your ankle pain isnt muscular or due to another cause it is likely prompted by gout. The same uric acid that creates painful crystals in your joints, prompting gout pain and attacks, can also form into kidney stones, as Mount Sinai discusses.
While uric acid isnt responsible for the majority of kidney stones, hyperuricemia may cause roughly a sixth of all kidney stone cases, as research published in Medicina states. Like gout, kidney stones can be super painful, creating a one-two punch of agony for you to have to deal with. Given that gout, the kidneys, and kidney stones all have a relationship with each other, its vital to seek treatment if you have kidney stones alongside gout. As with treating gout, trying to reduce your intake of foods high in purines or reduce uric acid levels via other means is a sensible course of action to reduce symptoms and the chance of further recurrence .
How Will It Affect Me
Attacks can vary from person to person.Some people only have an attack everyfew years, while othersmayhaveattacksevery few months.
Without medication,attacks tend to happen moreoften,andother joints can become affected. Having high urate levels and gout for a long time can lead to other health problems, including:
- narrowing of thearteries- whichcan leadto anincreased risk of stroke, heartattacks 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
- an increased risk of somecancers, especially prostate cancer
- mental health problems, including depression
- underactive thyroid
- erectile dysfunction.
Mostof the damage and complications caused by gout can be stopped if you take medication to lower your urate levels and have a healthy diet andlifestyle.
Your Pain Will Be Severe
Rest assured, if your ankle pain is gout, you’re likely to know about it. We realize that this may come as cold comfort to people who have gout, though, as the intensity of the pain is the sure giveaway. “A gout attack is usually not subtle,” states the David Geffen School of Medicine rheumatologist and gout specialist John D. Fitzgerald via Creaky Joints. Gout attacks can cause agonizing pain, often described as needle-like, with the ankle often exhibiting a strong burning feeling that can get in the way of your day-to-day life.
This is where gout can differ from other causes of ankle pain, like different kinds of arthritis, that more commonly provide a low-level, constant ache. Usually, the severity of a gout attack peaks within 24 hours, and there will then be a drop-off in pain. When your pain is especially bad, using anti-inflammatories like NSAIDs, glucocorticoids, or colchicine may all deliver some relief. To treat and prevent attacks over the longer term, medication that focuses on lowering uric acid levels, like febuxostat, probenecid, and allopurinol, may be prescribed by your doctor.
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Ankle Gout Can Result In Mobility Issues
When you have a gout attack, the tissue in your joints flares up and becomes inflamed, and one notable area that can be affected is your bursae, the sacs of fluids that keep your joints moving healthily . An inflamed bursa, known as bursitis, can prompt stiffness, which can then make moving around more difficult. Bursitis may also, in some cases, prompt infection, creating further complications and potential long-term damage to the joint.
Acute gout can also cause mobility difficulties thanks to the fact that it’s very, very painful to walk or to do anything. If your gout is chronic, though, you may have mobility issues thanks to a different cause. Chronic gout causes constant low-level inflammation, as an article published by the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care states. Over time, this can alter the shape of your joints, which may further hamper mobility, made worse by the fact that your muscles can then get weaker and lose function.
Surgical Treatment For Gout Includes:
When patients have repetitive gouty attacks in a joint, the joints can become destroyed. This can lead to severe pain and disability. In cases where the symptoms are not relieved by conservative case, Dr. Stewart generally recommends surgery to fuse the joints affected by gout. Once the joint is fused, gout will no longer occur as the joint space has been eliminated.
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Treating Gout With Medications
Certain medications reduce the pain and inflammation of gout attacks, such as anti-inflammatory drugs , colchicine, and corticosteroids. Other medications decrease the level of uric acid in the blood and prevent the deposit of uric acid in joints , the kidneys , and in tissue , helping to prevent further attacks and complications. These drugs include allopurinol, febuxostat, lesinurad, and probenicid.
Your Pain May Be Pseudogout
While ankle pain caused by gout can be a highly painful and irritating experience, it’s important to remember that unless diagnosed by a doctor, it may not be gout at all. There’s another condition that prompts gout-like symptoms without being gout itself: Pseudogout. While gout pain is prompted by the build-up of uric acid crystals, pseudogout is caused by excess calcium pyrophosphate , WebMD explains. This buildup of CPP can then create crystal formations in the joints, like gout, and cause similar symptoms.
Mercifully, though, pseudogout usually results in less severe pain than true gout. It may be less predictable than gout, however, mainly because it can be tricky to determine exactly why people get CPP buildups sometimes. CPP release may be determined by your cartilage and could be prompted by cartilage damage from an injury. Pseudogout is generally more likely to occur in older adults, particularly people more than 60 years of age. Luckily, though, it is treatable with anti-inflammatory medication or anti-gout drugs like colchicine. Your doctor may also prescribe steroids or deliver steroid injections to help bring the inflammation down.
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