What are the symptoms of gout?

William J. Martin, MD
The symptoms of acute gout are severe pain, redness and swelling in a joint or surrounding tissues. The pain is debilitating and is most severe within 12 to 24 hours after onset. The gout attack usually resolves itself within a few days to several weeks. Eighty percent of initial attacks involve a single joint, most often the base of the big toe (podagra) or the knee. However, gout can occur in almost any joint. Classic podagra is a very inflamed and swollen big toe. If gout occurs in the knee, there is usually a lot of swelling.
James P. Ioli, DPM
Podiatric Medicine
Symptoms of gout include:
  • Jolts of pain in the affected joint
  • Possible inflammation in the joint
  • Increase in symptoms after eating some foods
Johns Hopkins Medicine
Gout is characterized by sudden, recurrent attacks that often occur without warning. Severe, chronic gout may lead to deformity. The following are the most common symptoms of gout. However each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
  • severe, sudden pain in one or more joints (most often the joint in the big toe)
  • swollen joint(s)
  • red or purplish, tight, shiny skin over joint
  • warmth in joint area
  • fever
  • chills
  • general feeling of illness
  • rapid heartbeat
  • hard lumps of urate crystal deposits under the skin (called tophi)
The symptoms of gout may resemble other medical conditions or problems. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.
Gout most commonly attacks the large toe with very severe pain, swelling, and redness in the joint. The pain is often too severe to walk or stand and may be so severe that even the weight of the bedsheets hurts the toe. It can also attack the ankle, knee, elbow or other joints. More than one joint can be painful and swollen at times. The attacks usually go away in a few weeks,, but if untreated, gout can return and cause a severe arthritis with deformity.
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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.