Possible Gouty Arthritis?

FrankPB Member Posts: 2
edited 25. Jun 2018, 05:32 in Living with Arthritis archive

I'm new to posting here but your forum has really helped in the past few weeks and I hope somebody here might be able to answer a few questions I now have.

My mum (82) has had severe joint pain and stiffness mainly in her right knee. It came on quite quickly, starting as a burning sensation in her kneecaps that would wake her in the night. She has no history of mobility problems.

After ordering x-rays, the doctor diagnosed mild osteoarthritis, prescribed Naproxen, and sent her to see a physio. In the following week, she tried to follow the exercise plan the physio had set out for her but the pain got steadily worse to the point where she couldn't even put weight on the knee. A medical friend then pointed out that mild osteoarthritis should not be that painful. I'd already wondered if it was gouty arthritis but the doctor (who cynical to the point of laughing) reluctantly did a blood test for gout. We assume it came back negative.

A little more research suggested that gouty arthritis doesn't always look like gout (there's no bright red shiny swelling around the knee) and that the blood tests are notoriously unreliable. Her pain last Monday was worse than ever and she was struggling to walk. That's when we decided to try a gout diet.

Instead of fish or meats, she started to eat cherries and celery. Inside 12 hours the pain started to reduce. After 24 hours, the pain was drastically lessened. After 5 days, the pain is down to a persistent soreness around on both sides of her kneecap and behind her knee, though the stiffness is still acute.

She will be going to see the doctor again but, obviously, not sure how we're going to explain all the above given he was very unconvinced (almost amused) by the idea it might be gouty.

Therefore, I have a few questions:

1. Does this sound familiar? Does it sound like a gouty arthritis?

2. If so, how long does recovery take?

3. Should she be exercising the joint or should she wait until there's no pain?

4. Is there anything we can do to help the stiffness? Been bathing the knee with Epsom salts in warm water but not sure how much it's helping.

Thanks for reading and I'm very grateful for any advice you might have. The doctors, thus far, have proved far less helpful at dealing with this problem than the advice we've read on here!




  • moderator
    moderator Moderator Posts: 3,640
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Hi Frank,

    Your poor Mum with knee pain beginning so suddenly and severely.

    Firstly I must make sure you understand none of us are medically trained to give diagnosis, prognosis etc for your Mum.

    Here is the leaflet written by Arthritis Research UK on gout


    It does mention there that cherries can be beneficial to help reduce symptoms. Non steroidal anti-inflammatories and physio are also suggested for gout, if you go to physio with your Mum you could ask some of your questions there, and obviously ask your GP for help too. Usually if a joint is swollen or inflamed cold can be helpful, to help relax tight muscles, tendons then warmth can be helpful. You can take paracetamol alongside Naproxen.

    Do let us know how your Mum gets on, it's good she has you for support.

    Take care
    Yvonne x
  • dreamdaisy
    dreamdaisy Member Posts: 31,520
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    Gout is on the spectrum of auto-immune inflammatory conditions so it could be that it is either gout or an auto-immune form of arthritis. Both conditions are caused by the body over-reacting to a trigger (not necessarily known but in gout thought to be purines). and this can happen at any age. Cherry juice was touted as pain relief for auto-immune arthritis as well as osteo (I think) , beetroot, celery, turmeric etc. are all touted as method to ease pain: in my experience they do not.

    If her knee is swollen and hot to the touch then it should be rested and regularly iced, I used to use a bag of frozen peas, wrapped in a few towel and clearly marked as not for consumption. This is non-invasive and can be repeated. I have both an auto-immune arthritis and OA, have done for years so know a little about it. Physio is designed to strengthen the muscles around the joint to help better support it, when I do my exercises I do fewer than suggested but more often - and yes, it hurts.

    GPs know a little about a lot whereas rheumatologists know a lot about a little; it is true that many GPs are becoming better informed about auto-immune arthritis but there are still pockets of ignorance and not all are good at interpreting blood test results because they lack the required information. I think asking for a referral is not unreasonable, my husband has gout but unlike my psoriatic arthritis, his condition responds to the naproxen by going away for months at a time. My PsA moved in in 1997 and will lodge with me until I die, likewise the OA which was caused by the PsA.

    I wish your mum well, this must be deeply unpleasant and upsetting for her and it's essential to establish what's what, yes? Please let us know how you get on. DD
  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 26,707
    edited 30. Nov -1, 00:00
    I don't have gout. Mine is RA. But I think the only way you can be sure about this is to see a rheumatologist. Your GP will have to refer you (unless you go privately) but you might print out some of the info here https://www.arthritisresearchuk.org/arthritis-information/conditions/gout.aspx and present it in such a way that it doesn't seem as if you're saying the GP is ignorant :wink: They really can't be expected to know everything about everything. They are not specialists and the best ones realise that. Good luck.

Who's Online

+4 Guests