What to Expect During a Gout Attack
Joints affected by gout are often
Hi, I'm Dr. Pamela Rosenthal, Rheumotologist at the NYU Langone Medical Center for About.com. In this video, I'll be talking about what typically happens during a gout attack.Gout is caused by uric acid crystals forming in the joint and provoking a very powerful inflammatory response. So joints that are affected by gout are hot and tender and often excruciatingly painful to touch. This often happens during a period of hours, and it can last, untreated, for days. Gout pain is excruciatingly painful. It is lancing, burning, fully inflammatory pain. It's described extensively in medical literature and even in poetry as robust, intense, and all-encompassing. When your joint is under attack by those uric acid crystals, your mind and body are really focused around the inflammation that is occurring in that joint.The classic gout presentation is in the first big toe of the foot. It is often rather abrupt at onset. Patients describe going to bed at night feeling well and then being woken up in the middle of the night by this excruciating pain. Even the pressure of the sheet on their foot might be overwhelmingly painful for them. Gout can affect all joints of the body in addition to the big toe; ankles, elbows, wrists; small joints such as joints of the hand are affected, although less commonly, and also large joints such as the knee.Gout will self resolve but it may be a very painful and uncomfortable few days until the symptoms are fully abated. Gout may never reoccur once the joint that was affected is resolved. Or it may skip to another joint months later. Or it may become a chronic problem for the afflicted person depending on many factors, up to, and most importantly, what the precipitating risk factors were for the initial gout attack.Thank you for watching. To learn more, please visit About.com.