More than 8 million Americans have gout, a type of arthritis in which uric acid builds up in your tissues. Gout causes joint pain when the acid crystallizes around joints, causing pain, inflammation, and stiffness.
Gout can appear in any joint, but it often begins in the joint at the base of the big toe. At Midwest Sports and Interventional Spine, Harvard-trained pain management specialist Cyril Philip, MD, helps patients in Franklin, Wisconsin, manage their gout symptoms and prevent them from getting worse.
If you have gout, here are five signs you shouldn’t ignore.
Gout causes inflammation, and if that inflammation worsens or spreads to other joints, you can wind up with a fever. An elevated temperature can also be a sign that a joint is infected, especially if the joint feels very warm or looks red or swollen.
Seek medical care right away to treat the infection and prevent it from becoming worse.
Lower back pain
Gout can affect the joints in your spine, causing back pain and stiffness. But low back pain can also be due to problems with your kidneys.
Your kidneys filter uric acid out of your blood. If your body produces too much uric acid or if your kidneys aren’t filtering the way they’re supposed to, you can wind up with kidney pain in your lower back.
Other gout-related kidney problems include kidney stones, kidney infection, and kidney failure. If you have gout, routine kidney function tests play an important role in ensuring your kidney function isn’t affected.
Lumps under your skin
Many people with gout develop lumps called tophi. These lumps form when uric acid builds up in the soft tissues. Lumps can form anywhere, but they most often appear around your hands, elbows, fingers, and ears.
These lumps typically aren’t painful, but tophi formation may indicate that your gout is worsening and needs prompt medical intervention.
Increasing joint pain
Like other types of arthritis, gout typically causes mild symptoms initially, worsening as more of the joint tissue is destroyed. Gout can also spread to other joints, causing additional pain and stiffness.
If you’re experiencing increased joint pain, it could be a sign that your gout is intensifying or spreading.
Decreased range of joint motion
As with other types of arthritis, you may experience joint stiffness with gout. But if the stiffness gets worse and interferes with your ability to move or function normally, you’re at serious risk of permanent joint damage — and permanent disability.
Get medical treatment ASAP to prevent more serious problems and to ensure your kidneys aren’t involved.
There’s no cure for gout, but there are treatments that can relieve painful symptoms and prevent serious consequences. To learn more about gout treatment options, call our Franklin, Wisconsin, office today at 262-232-7161 or use our online system to book an appointment with Dr. Philip.