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Gout symptoms

Gout is a type of arthritis, a word that means ‘inflammation of the joints’. The symptoms usually come on rapidly and can last one to two weeks.

The symptoms of gout are:

  • pain in a joint, which can be quite severe
  • swelling and around the joint, which is tender to the touch, even of clothing
  • warmth and redness of the skin over the affected joint
  • restricted movement of the joint.

The big toe is the joint most commonly affected, although the hands, wrists, knees, ankles, elbows or any other joint can be affected.

Frequent attacks of gout can cause irreversible damage to the joint and the nearby bone. Over the long term, recurrent attacks can also cause kidney stones, kidney damage and tophi - solid lumps of urate crystals, especially on the ears, fingers, hands, forearms, knees and elbows.

Sources: Arthritis Australia (Arthritis information sheet – Gout (pdf document)), Flinders University (Gout), NHS Choices UK (Gout).

Last reviewed: August 2015

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