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 36 hours. Other affected joints include the knees, ankles, feet, wrists, hands, fingers, and elbows.
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Symptoms in the joint affected usually include:
- Severe pain
- Extreme tenderness
Other symptoms may include:
- Overall sick feeling
Symptoms are usually more severe in people who develop gout before age 30. Some people will only suffer one gout attack. Most people with gout, however, will suffer a recurrence within two years of the first attack, and further recurrences after that (if the condition is left untreated).
Possible complications of gout include:
- Build up of uric acid deposits (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
American Academy of Family Physicians website. Available at:
American College of Rheumatology website. Available at:
National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at:
The Merck Manual of Medical Information.17th ed. Simon and Schuster, Inc; 2000.
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