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Gout is a form of "crystal arthritis" caused by accumulation of uric acid.
Acute attacks are characterised by sudden and severe pain, stiffness, and swelling in a joint. Gout often begins in the big toe (podagra). Untreated, the condition may cause damage to the joints, tendons, and other tissues. When occurring in the legs, it can often render someone temporarily non-weight-bearing (that is, the inability to walk).
Gout is often part of the metabolic syndrome (characterised by obesity and associated cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol). It can cause kidney stones.
Diagnosis of gout depends on the medical history, physical examination and other diagnostic tests. Fluid sample taken from the joint may be necessary, as well as new imaging modalities such as dual energy computerised tomography.
Treatment options include pain medications, life style changes, physical therapy and corticosteroid injections. Your doctor may recommend medications to lower the uric acid in the body for long-term prevention.