Ask the MSK Expert: Explaining the basics of gout


What is gout? What are the common symptoms and treatment recommendations?

Dr. Devich says: Gout is a common form of sudden-onset, very painful arthritis that is commonly associated with joint swelling and redness. Gout is typically very sensitive to the touch. The big toe joint is the most common first site of flare, but any joint can be affected. 

Gout pain responds rapidly but only temporarily to ice packs. Medications to lower uric acid such as allopurinol and Uloric (febuxostat) are some of the most commonly used medications, but other medications are available as well. Lowering the uric acid can help the bumps from gout - called tophi - to dissolve away, but lowering the uric acid itself does not prevent gout flares in the short term. Other medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and colchicine are medications that can be used to prevent flares of gout, but they do not lower the uric acid. 

If untreated, gout can lead to permanent joint damage, deposits of gout (called tophi) in and around the joints, and other health complications.


Physician Spotlight

Joseph Devich Jr., DO, is a fellowship-trained rheumatologist at Tri Rivers. He treats and helps patients manage complex conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, gout, osteoporosis, vasculitis, psoriatic arthritis, Ankylosing spondylitis, lupus and other connective tissue diseases.

Dr. Devich sees patients at our BHS Crossroads Campus and North Hills offices. To schedule an appointment with him, or any other Tri Rivers provider, please call 1-866-874-7483 or click here.