Acute Gouty Arthritis

Acute Gouty Arthritis

Acute gouty arthritis is a type of inflammatory arthritis caused by elevated levels of uric acid in the body. The uric acid crystallizes in the joint and cause inflammation and pain. It is characterized by sudden, severe episodes of swelling and redness, joint warmth and tenderness, and intense joint pain.

Acute gouty arthritis usually affects the first metatarsophalangeal joint or the big toe, however it can occur in any joint in the body. It is more prevalent in men, those who are overweight, and those who consume large amounts of alcohol or purine-rich foods. It is also common in those with certain metabolic disorders, such as kidney disease.

The primary symptom of acute gouty arthritis is intense joint pain, usually in the big toe, followed by swelling, redness, warmth, and tenderness in the affected joint. Other signs and symptoms may include fever, chills, fatigue, loss of appetite, and nausea. An initial episode of gouty arthritis may last from a few days to a few weeks, and the pain can be excruciating.

Treatment of acute gouty arthritis usually involves medications, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, colchicine, and corticosteroids. Over-the-counter medications, such as ibuprofen and naproxen, can be used to reduce swelling and pain. Other treatments include ice packs or warm compresses to reduce swelling and rest to allow the joint to heal.

Other Treatment Options:

  • Weight Loss – Maintaining a healthy weight can reduce the risk of recurrent gout flares by reducing uric acid levels.
  • Exercise – Low impact exercises, such as walking, can help to reduce swelling, stiffness, and pain associated with gout.
  • Diet – Avoiding purine-rich foods, such as red meat, gravies, and alcohol, can also help to reduce uric acid levels.
  • Fluid Intake – Increasing fluid intake can help to flush out uric acid and reduce the risk of future gout flares.