Can you get gout in your hands and fingers?
We all know that symptoms for gout happen most often on the foot. But did you know that you can also experience gout in your hands? Gouty arthritis is not as common as gout.
When you have too much buildup of uric acid in your bloodstream, the acidity can most likely be concentrated in your hands, which can result in attacks. It’s not as common as gout in your feet but the pain is equally the same. Your wrist, hands, and fingers are at most risk for having these flares.
If you’ve never experienced gout before, you may never realize that you actually have it until you get a diagnosis. Sometimes, you might even mistake the odd pain or stiffness in your hands as just a minor sprain.
Here are the ways to know if you have gout in your hands:
- You experience swelling in the joints of your hands
- Simple movements such as clenching your fist or flexing your fingers cause you to feel sensitivity or tenderness in the area
- You feel a burning sensation in the joints of your hands
- You feel stiffness and sometimes have difficulty moving your hands
- The skin in your hand turns bright red and shiny, almost like a red balloon
- Your finger looks lumpy and appears to have tophi underneath the skin
There are several remedies you can do that may help alleviate the symptoms of gout in hands. If you are experiencing a gout attack, you can:
- Grab a basin filled with warm water and Epsom salt. Soak the affected area in water for a few minutes and alternate with ice. The salt neutralizes the acidity while the ice helps reduce the swelling.
- Drink a glass of water added with half a teaspoon of baking soda or apple cider vinegar. You can also squeeze a slice of lemon into your drink. All these ingredients are alkalizing which may help halt the gout attack.
- Try to relax. Gout attacks are undoubtedly painful; you want a quick remedy and the last thing you think about is relaxing. But keeping calm and breathing slowly might just actually help to oxygenate the blood and reduce the acidity.
- Take an anti-inflammatory drug such as indomethacin or naproxen sodium. Your doctor may also prescribe colchicine which is a more powerful drug for gout in hands.
Gout symptoms in your hands can also be prevented by making several lifestyle changes. That means following a low-purine diet, weight, avoiding alcohol and nicotine, drinking lots of water, exercising, and maintaining a healthy weight.
Less Pain but Equally Debilitating
Gout flares in your hands may not be as debilitating as those in your feet but you should still treat it with the same caution.
Practically everything you do involves using your hands, whether it’s typing, texting, or carrying objects.
Gout attacks make you less capable of doing these things especially if the affected area is your dominant hand.
Just imagine. If you had a gout attack, you not only miss a day of work but several days or weeks. This is because the pain from gout flares don’t always disappear after 24 hours. Sometimes it can last for days or weeks. That’s a lot of days of work you’re missing. And if you’re a regularly Joe like me, you need to work to earn a living. By the way, we’re only talking about acute attacks here. Who knows how many work days you’d have to miss if it was a serious gout attack.
When you don’t take care of the gout in your hands, you not only risk your health but also your work and income. It’s always best to take caution the moment you find out you have gout in your hands.
Don’t wait for it to get worse.
You can never be too lenient with your health especially with the modern lifestyle being so anti-gout (sugars, trans-fat, alcohol, dairy, stress, smoking, etc.)
Make the lifestyle changes I recommend here on my site and don’t forget to take your proper medication. The thing about gout is that you may need to take medication for the rest of your life to avoid getting gout attacks.
The goal is to lower uric acid and prevent its buildup. Depending on the severity of your condition, your doctor may prescribe you allopurinol, febuxostat, or colchicine.
It should also be noted that certain medications can cause hyperuricemia and interact with your gout medicine.
Several cases found that elderly adults taking medications such as thiazide diuretics, low dose salicylates, cyclosporine, pyrazinamide, and nicotinic acid actually precipitated a gout attack. When physicians increased the dosages for these medicines, the likelihood of a gout attack to happen increased.
The study mentioned above also mentions that those who took less than 25 mg of thiazide diuretics a day did not increase their risk for a gouty attack. If you take aspirin regularly, be careful as even low doses (2g) can actually promote the retention of uric acid in the body.
Have you experience a gout attack in your hands or wrists? Share your experiences in the comments below.