Knee gout is a type of arthritis that occurs when there is an excess of uric acid in the body. Uric acid is a waste product that is produced when the body breaks down purines, which are found in many foods. When uric acid levels become too high, the excess can form needle-like crystals that accumulate in the joints, causing inflammation, pain, and swelling. Knee gout specifically refers to gout that affects the knee joint. It is a chronic condition that can cause significant discomfort and affect mobility.
Causes of Knee Gout
The primary cause of knee gout is the accumulation of uric acid crystals in the knee joint. However, several factors can contribute to the development of this condition, including:
Diet: Consuming foods that are high in purines, such as red meat, seafood, and alcohol, can increase the risk of developing gout.
Genetics: Some people may have a genetic predisposition to gout, making them more susceptible to the condition.
Age and gender: Gout is more common in men over the age of 40, but postmenopausal women are also at an increased risk.
Medical conditions: Certain medical conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and kidney disease, can increase the risk of developing gout.
Medications: Some medications, such as diuretics and aspirin, can increase the levels of uric acid in the body and trigger gout attacks.
Dehydration: Not drinking enough fluids can increase the concentration of uric acid in the body, increasing the risk of gout attacks.
It is important to manage these risk factors to prevent or manage knee gout effectively.
Signs and Symptoms of Knee Gout
Knee gout can cause a range of signs and symptoms that can vary in severity. Some common signs and symptoms of knee gout include:
- Intense pain: Knee gout can cause sudden, intense pain that may be described as sharp, stabbing, or throbbing. The pain is often accompanied by swelling, warmth, and redness in the affected joint.
- Stiffness: Knee gout can cause stiffness in the affected joint, making it difficult to move the knee.
- Limited mobility: As the knee gout progresses, it can limit the range of motion in the affected joint, making it difficult to perform daily activities such as walking or climbing stairs.
- Tenderness: The knee joint may be tender to the touch, especially during an acute gout attack.
- Fever: In some cases, knee gout can cause fever, chills, and other flu-like symptoms.
- Skin changes: In rare cases, knee gout can cause skin changes, such as the formation of tophi, which are lumps that form under the skin near the affected joint.
If you experience any of these signs or symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention to receive a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.
Treatment for Knee Gout
Physiotherapy can play an important role in the management of knee gout. The goals of physiotherapy for knee gout include reducing pain and inflammation, improving joint mobility and function, and preventing further gout attacks. Some common physiotherapy treatments for knee gout may include:
Ice or heat therapy: Applying ice or heat to the affected knee joint can help to reduce pain and inflammation.
Manual therapy: Techniques such as joint mobilization or manipulation may be used to improve joint mobility and reduce pain.
Exercise therapy: Specific exercises may be prescribed to improve knee strength, stability, and range of motion.
Education: Patients may be educated on lifestyle modifications and dietary changes to reduce the risk of future gout attacks.
Assistive devices: The use of assistive devices such as crutches, braces, or orthotics may be recommended to support the knee joint and improve mobility.
Pain management techniques: Strategies such as relaxation techniques, massage therapy, or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) may be used to manage pain.
Overall, a comprehensive treatment plan that includes physiotherapy, medication, and lifestyle modifications can be effective in managing knee gout and preventing future attacks.
If you have any questions or would like to speak to a therapist about knee gout please call us at 03 9836 1126.
Houghton, K.M., Smolinski, K.R., & Bernstein, J.R. (2019). Rehabilitation management of gout: A systematic review. Current Rheumatology Reports