Gout & Pseudogout
Gout and it's partner psuedogout are common causes of short bursts of joint pain. While they can affect anyone at any age they tend to affect men 40 years or over.
These two conditions are also known as 'crystal arthropathies' because both are caused by collections of sharp crystals in the joint. The crystals irritate the special lubricating tissue between the two bones (synovium), triggering inflammation resulting in pain, redness, and swelling in the joint.
Gout and psuedogout are usually managed by local doctors and specialists called rheumatologists. Orthopaedic surgeons can play a role in treatment of gout and pseudogout:
- Arthroscopy can be used to wash out affected joints. This is typically used for pseudogout. Alternatively, a diagnosis of gout may be under question and an arthroscopy can be performed to rule out other causes of joint pain, eg septic (infected) arthritis.
- Severe long-standing disease can cause deformity and intractable pain in the joints. The othopaedic surgeon may be asked to replace or fuse the joint to relieve symptoms and make walking easier (see Fusion of the Large Toe).
This illustration shows the swelling and pain caused by gout in it's most common joint - the large toe (1st MTP Joint).