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weathered hands
swollen knee
painful toe
x-ray of sore knee


Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis caused by high levels of uric acid. Uric acid is produced when the body breaks down certain chemicals in food we eat. Uric acid is typically dissolved in the blood and filtered out through our kidneys. If levels of uric acid are too high to be dissolved, the uric acid becomes crystals called urate. The urate can then settle in our joints causing gout but also settle in our kidneys causing kidney stones. Both gout and kidney stones may be very painful. Gout typically has flare ups lasting one to two weeks alternating with periods of being symptom free. Gout can be managed through changes in diet but may also require medication.


Excessive intake of the following foods may lead to high uric acid levels:

  • Seafood (especially salmon, shrimp, lobster, sardines)

  • Red meat

  • Organ meats like liver

  • Food and drinks with high fructose corn syrup, alcohol (especially beer, including non-alcoholic beer)


Symptoms of gout include:

  • Sudden intense joint pain – pain is more likely to occur at night and likely to be the most severe over the first 4-12 hours

  • Joint pain typically occurs in the big toe but other commonly affected joints include ankles, knees, elbows, wrists, and fingers. More joints may be affected with each episode

  • Lingering discomfort may last from a few days to a few weeks. Pain may last longer with each episode

  • Inflammation and redness of affected joints

  • Limited range of motion of affected joints



Further reading:

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