Gout and Pseudogout are two types of arthritis than can appear suddenly and cause sore joints in the hands and sometimes in other parts of the body. This condition can be common in the elbow, wrist, finger, knee and big toe joints.
Here are 6 signs that you may have gout or pseudogout:
- Hot joints
- Swollen joints
- Red joints
- Painful joints
- Infected-looking joints
- Tophi (white bumps) under the skin
Gout forms when people make too much, or do not get rid of, uric acid. These acid levels can be raised, for example, by eating meat or seafood or by drinking alcohol. People suffering from obesity, insulin resistance, high cholesterol, heart disease, hypothyroidism and/or kidney disease also tend to have Gout. Physical fitness seems to be one of the best ways to prevent this disease.
Pseudogout, also known as calcium pyrophosphate deposition (CPPD), has similar symptoms to Gout but is usually not caused by anything listed above. It can occur with pneumonia, heart attacks and strokes, after a surgery, or in people with thyroid problems, parathyroid gland problems, and those with high calcium and iron. In Pseudogout, many people will form the tophi as mentioned above. Unlike Gout, many will not have pain, swelling or redness.
This disease can be treated in a variety of ways. Arthritis cannot be “cured,” so the ultimate goal is to decrease pain. Here are some potential treatment options:
- Medication, including a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAID),
colchicine or an other medication prescribed by your doctor or rheumatologist
- Steroid injections or pills
- Splints or compressions
- Surgery (although this is uncommon)
It is vital to address Gout or Pseudogout as soon as possible to avoid damage to your joints and tendons and potential infection, which all could ultimately lead to loss of function. You can visit a rheumatologist, or, if your symptoms are in your hands or elbow, you can visit a hand surgeon.
Find a hand surgeon near you at www.findahandsurgeon.com, from the American Society for Surgery of the Hand.