If you have gout, you want relief quickly and you don't want it to occur again. At the University of Michigan Health System, we see many patients with gout every year, and our experts are well-versed in successfully treating this painful, debilitating condition. 

Gout is usually caused by having too much uric acid in your body. Too much uric acid may not cause symptoms for years, but after a while it can cause painful joint inflammation (arthritis). The most common site of inflammation is the joint between the foot and the big toe. Later attacks often affect other joints of the foot and leg. Sometimes, arms and hands are affected.

In addition to the arthritis, gout causes the formation of tophi, which are lumpy deposits of uric acid crystals just under the skin. Common places for tophi to develop are in the outer edge of the ear, on or near the elbow, over the fingers and toes, and around the Achilles tendon in the ankle.

Gout can also cause kidney stones made of uric acid.

Symptoms of Gout

The symptoms of gout often include:

  • Arthritis that develops in a day, producing a swollen, red and warm joint
  • An attack of arthritis in only one joint, often the toe, ankle or knee
  • More than one attack of acute arthritis

Most people who have gout are middle-aged men, but gout can occur at any age. Only 5 to 10% of cases of gout occur in women, most often after menopause. People who have had an organ transplant are more susceptible to gout. 

Diagnosis of Gout

During your office visit:

  • We will take a complete health history and do a physical examination to determine the severity of your condition, the mechanics of your joint and the areas of your pain.
  • We will look at information from your referring physician, if there is one.
  • We may need to take X-Rays or blood tests to determine the extent of your condition. 

Through these tests and examinations, our physician will determine: 

  • if you have hyperuricemia (a level of uric acid in the body that is abnormally high) 
  • if you have uric acid crystals in joint fluid

Treatment of Gout

The most common treatments for an acute attack of gout are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) taken orally (by mouth), or corticosteroids, which are taken orally or injected into the affected joint. NSAIDs reduce the inflammation caused by deposits of uric acid crystals, but have no effect on the amount of uric acid in the body. 

Your treatment plan may include medication, lifestyle changes or alternative treatments.

We will carefully weigh the results of your exam, health history and tests to develop an individualized treatment plan for you. 

Our goal is to lessen your pain, stop reoccurrences of gout and help you lead a productive life. 

Contact Us / Make an Appointment by calling

  • Orthopaedics at 734-936-5780
  • Rheumatology Services at 888-229-3065

Selecting a health care provider is a very important decision. Because we are highly experienced in treating arthritis and joint inflammation, we would like to help you explore your options. Visit our Contact Us page to see a list of clinics and their contact information. Our staff will be glad to talk with you about how we can help.