Can Gout Affect Your Shoulders?

Can Gout Affect Your Shoulders?

It’s hard to confuse a gout flare-up with other problems. After all, this widespread form of arthritis often causes intense joint pain, swelling, inflammation, and redness that can knock you off your feet. That’s because gout usually affects the big toe. However, it can also cause problems in other parts of the body, including the shoulder.

Thomas F. Saylor, MD, is a gifted orthopaedic surgeon who offers expert diagnostic services and treatment at Orthopaedic Care Specialists in North Palm Beach, Florida. If you have shoulder pain, here’s what you need to know about gout.

Gout basics

Arthritis is a leading cause of shoulder pain, but not all types are one and the same. 

We use the general term “arthritis” to describe swelling and tenderness in at least one joint. However, more than 100 different forms of this condition exist, and they each affect the joints in different ways. One unique and complex form is gout.

When you have gout, urate crystals accumulate in a joint, leading to the intense pain and inflammation you experience in a gout attack. These crystals form because of high levels of uric acid in the bloodstream. 

Uric acid comes from the purines your body breaks down in your system. Purines occur naturally and also come from certain foods, such as:

Most of the time, the uric acid in your body dissolves and leaves your body in your urine. However, if your body produces too much of this substance or your kidneys excrete too little, uric acid can build up in your system. 

This leads to sharp urate crystals forming in joints or surrounding tissues, causing a gout attack.

Gout and shoulders

Gout attacks often come on suddenly and usually at night. And, as we stated above, they typically affect the big toe. However, while less common, gout can also cause issues in the elbows, wrists and fingers, ankles and knees, and the shoulders.

Signs of gout in the shoulder often include:

Since gout shares many symptoms with other common causes of shoulder pain, understanding your risk of developing this condition can help with reaching a diagnosis.

Recognizing your risk for gout

The recognition of gout dates back to ancient Egypt, almost 5,000 years ago. Today, approximately 4% of Americans live with this condition.

Factors that increase your chances of developing gout include:

Dr. Saylor can sometimes diagnose the presence of gout based on your symptoms and personal risks alone. However, he could also recommend additional diagnostic testing to rule out other conditions.

If you have gout in your shoulder, Dr. Saylor can outline a treatment strategy to reduce the inflammation and pain of your attack. Then, he can provide guidance on how to avoid additional flare-ups in the future.

Do you have shoulder pain? Identifying the cause is the only way to get the most effective relief. To get the help you need, call 561-292-0148 or book an appointment online with Orthopaedic Care Specialists today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Can a Sprain Heal on Its Own Without Treatment?

Many people don’t think sprains are a big deal. However, these injuries shouldn’t be ignored, because they involve the ligaments, which help keep your joints stable. Read on to learn more about what sprains are and how they can be treated.

At-Home Treatments For a Sprain

You don’t have to break a bone to sustain a painful injury. In fact, severe sprains can be equally debilitating and interfere with daily life. If you sustain a sprain, here are steps you can take to ease your symptoms.

8 Things That Can Lead to Tendonitis

Do you have pain and tenderness near a joint? It could be tendonitis. This common problem can cause significant pain and interfere with daily life. Keep reading to find out what can cause tendonitis and how it can be treated.

Do You Have These Telltale Signs of Bursitis?

Pain can occur for numerous reasons, especially when it involves a joint. So how do you know when it’s from bursitis? Keep reading to learn more about this condition and how to spot the most common signs of a problem.

When To Use the RICE Protocol

Injuries can strike when you least expect them, especially strains and sprains. So what should you do if they happen to you? Read on to learn when using the RICE method could be the answer — and when you should get more advanced care.