Gout Symptoms to Be Aware Of
Gout can also occur in the whole body in the form of a mild fever. This is when you have chills and shivers which get more intense as the pain in the affected joint gets stronger. You may also feel muscle ache and fatigue.
This combination of symptoms almost resembles the flu which is caused by the inflammation during a gout flare. However, it doesn’t last as long and will gradually subside after reaching maximum intensity.
After the initial pain of a gout attack has subsided (first 12 to 24 hours), you may notice that the affected joint feels tender. Usually this tenderness climbs up slowly past the ankle and the leg. You may have difficulties walking in the next few days or weeks as your joints recover from the attack.
When the affected joint is tender, your doctor may prescribe you to use a crutch otherwise, you will be limping –not the best way to go about your daily activities. It can be hard to function so be sure to get treatment right away.
5. Reddish, Purple Shiny Skin
As the swollen area becomes larger, you may notice that the skin around the affected joint will turn reddish purple, and shiny. It almost looks as if you’re having an infection under the skin.
Again, you can apply cold compress for this to help minimize the appearance of the symptom. Elevate the affected joint and try to avoid walking or standing for long periods as this can actually aggravate the pain. Also, don’t cross your legs as this can constrict blood circulation which can make the pain even more severe. Make sure to drink plenty of water to help dilute and flush out the uric acid.
6. Skin Peeling
In certain cases, a gout flare can cause skin to peel and shed, almost as if you have a bad sunburn. When the skin swells from the inflammation, it stretches, turns red, and becomes flaky and itchy, sometimes even cracked.
If bleeding starts to occur due to your skin cracking, call your doctor right away so they can prescribe you the right medication to prevent a fungal infection in the affected area. You may be given a hemorrhoid cream to reduce the inflammation or an over the counter antifungal cream like clotrimazole or terbinafine.
7. Elbow Gout
It’s very common to experience gout first in your lower extremities before it progresses to other parts of the body such as the elbow. If you have gout in this area, it could be a sign that your condition is becoming more difficult to manage. In this case, you should be redoubling your efforts of lowering your uric acid making sure it doesn’t develop into tophi (more on that later!)
Gout attacks in your elbow are not as debilitating as those that you experience in your feet or hand, so you should still be able to resume your daily activities although you likely won’t be doing anything that involves swinging your arm.
8. Kidney Stones
Uric acid doesn’t just build up in your joints but in your kidneys too! When there’s too much buildup, they turn into kidney stones which can be very difficult to pass. But how do you know if you have kidney stones? The tell-tale signs include:
- Severe abdominal and groin pain
- Severe pain in the back below the ribs
- Bloody urine
- Painful urination
- Cloudy or foul-smelling urine
- Nausea and vomiting
At this point, you have to tread very carefully as kidney stones make you more prone to experiencing gout attacks. Kidney health and gout are interrelated in a way that if one condition worsens, the same thing happens to the other. When your kidneys are not in good condition, you won’t be able to excrete uric acid as efficiently causing you to have more gout attacks. When your gout symptoms occur more often, you’re probably following a less-than-optimal lifestyle which in turn can also impact your kidneys.
Drink lots of water regularly to help reduce the chances of stones forming in your kidneys. You also need to limit your dosage of certain gout medications like allopurinol as this can be very harsh to the kidneys too. This is where the saying “A healthy lifestyle is better than medicine” applies best. No amount of medication will help you if you don’t start the healing from within.