How is gout different from other forms of arthritis?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

Osteoarthritis and gout can be mistaken for each other because both are characterized by swelling and inflammation. However, gout is different because too much uric acid in the bloodstream causes crystals to build up and damage joints. This does not occur in typical osteoarthritis. While some treatments for both gout and osteoarthritis are similar, gout requires special medications to decrease uric acid in the body.

Gout is different from other forms of arthritis because it is caused by uric acid crystals. The crystals build up and collect in and around the joints. Although gout is progressive like other forms of arthritis, it does not normally attack the bones or other organs, which occurs with rheumatoid arthritis.

Gout is a type of joint inflammation, or arthritis, that develops when uric acid crystals build up in the joint. Gout typically only affects one joint at a time, is very painful, causes a lot of joint inflammation and swelling and may resolve completely in a few days. It is most common for gout to affect the toe joint, but it may affect other joints as well. Other forms of arthritis that are common are osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Neither of these types of arthritis have anything to do with crystals in the joints. Osteoarthritis develops from degeneration, or aging of the joints, and rheumatoid arthritis develops when the immune system is attacking the joints.

Continue Learning about Gout

The Real Facts About Pseudo-Gout
The Real Facts About Pseudo-Gout
There are pseudo-kudos (“My, that’s a nice jacket. What street did you pick that up on?”), pseudo-musicians (“It must be heavy-lifting carrying that t...
Read More
Are there different types of gout?
Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)Honor Society of Nursing (STTI)
Gout is one form of arthritis. It can be divided into two categories, either primary or secondary, d...
More Answers
Are there different stages of gout?
William J. Martin, MDWilliam J. Martin, MD
Gout has three stages of development. The first stage is asymptomatic hyperuricemia, wherein a perso...
More Answers
How Can Eating Cherries Help Gout?
How Can Eating Cherries Help Gout?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.