What is gout? Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis, caused when the body’s immune system attacks the tissues of joints instead of viruses and other foreign substances. If you’re experiencing redness and swelling in your knee that comes on suddenly, you may be dealing with gout. Learn more below about what gout looks like, how you get gout, and what you can do to reduce your symptoms and begin the healing process.
Gout is more common in the fingers and toes, but it can also show up first in the knee joints. What does gout look like if you have it in your knee? It’s a good idea to visit your doctor for an evaluation if you have the following symptoms:
Note that the above symptoms can also indicate an infection, so you should visit a medical professional promptly to rule out this possibility. Gout in the knee joint is typically diagnosed after an inspection, blood tests to determine urate levels, and an assessment of your family history and risk factors. A sample of fluid from the affected joint can also be inspected for urate crystals.
Although most people associate it with diet alone, how you get gout is usually more complicated than that. Gout in knee joints or other soft tissue is actually caused by too much uric acid in the blood plasma. Excess uric acid accumulates in the form of tiny monosodium urate crystals on the soft tissue lining of joints. When the joint moves, the crystals rub against the tissues and cause inflammation.
There are a number of risk factors for high uric acid levels aside from diet, including:
How do you get gout through diet, and what foods should you avoid to lower your risk? Eating foods high in purines is known to raise uric acid levels. Your physician may recommend avoiding high-purine foods such as organ meats, bacon, turkey, veal, venison, and some fish, seafood, and shellfish.
The prevalence of gout—in knee joints, fingers, toes, and other soft tissues—has surged in the last two decades, especially among younger people. However, more treatment options exist than ever before, and a combination of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications and lifestyle changes is effective for most people. Severe cases may require aspiration to remove fluid from the joint tissue or a steroid injection to reduce swelling.
Your physician may recommend that you take action on your own to reduce the symptoms of gout in your knee joint tissue by:
Physical therapy is helpful for gout in several ways. First, treatments performed by a physical therapist can reduce inflammation and pain. These options include:
Once inflammation and pain are under control, physical therapy exercises, stretches, and manual treatments can be employed to rebuild strength and flexibility. These include:
After you’ve been diagnosed by a physician and determined how you got gout, physical therapy may be able to reduce your symptoms and promote faster healing! Request an appointment or virtual visit to learn more today, or book an appointment at one of our locations in Chicagoland or Champaign-Urbana for gout in your knee joints. A licensed physical therapist will design an arthritis pain treatment plan to help you get back to your favorite activities sooner.