Gout – what are the signs and symptoms of gout

Signs and Symptoms of Gout
Signs and Symptoms of Gout

Symptoms of gout

The main symptom of gout is a sudden attack of severe pain in one or more joints, typically your big toe.

Other symptoms can include:

the joint feeling hot and very tender, to the point of being unable to bear anything touching it
swelling in and around the affected joint
red, shiny skin over the affected joint
peeling, itchy and flaky skin as the swelling goes down


The intense pain can make getting around difficult. Even the light pressure of a bed cover or blanket can be unbearable.

Which joints can be affected?

Gout can affect almost any joint and can occur in more than one joint at the same time.

The joints towards the ends of the limbs tend to be affected more often, including the:

toes – particularly the big toe joint

midfoot (where your shoelaces sit)






If gout is left untreated, it’s likely to affect more joints over time.

Pattern of symptoms

Attacks of gout tend to:

occur at night, although they can happen at any time

develop quickly over a few hours

last between three and 10 days – after this time, the affected joint should start to return to normal, but the problem can persist if treatment isn’t started early

come back – you may experience attacks every few months or years

become more frequent over time if not treated

It’s difficult to predict how often attacks will occur and when exactly they will happen.