What Happens At Your Appointment
The GP may ask about your diet and if you drink alcohol.
They may refer you to see a specialist and arrange a blood test and scan. Sometimes a thin needle is used to take a sample of fluid from inside the affected joint, to test it.
The blood test will find out how much of a chemical called uric acid there is in your blood.
Having too much uric acid in your blood can lead to crystals forming around your joints, which causes pain.
Gout In Elbow Symptoms
Gout in the elbow can cause sudden severe pain. This gout elbow pain may be so bad that it can wake you up at night. Gout episodes typically occur rapidly over a few hours, with the skin of the affected joint appearing shiny and small, firm lumps possibly developing underneath the skin. Symptoms of gout in elbow include:
After an acute attack of elbow gout, it may begin to spread down to other joints such as the wrist and fingers over the coming days. Gout in elbow symptoms tend to recur anywhere from six months to two years after the initial episode, with approximately 60 percent of gout patients having a recurrence within one year.
Arthritis Of The Elbow
The elbow can be affected by various types of arthritis.
Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It starts with the loss of cartilage, which is a thin protective layer that covers bones in a joint. In response the body can grow bony spurs within the joint and there can be an increase of fluid in the joint space. This can happen without you feeling any symptoms. But it can cause pain, swelling and stiffness in a joint.
Osteoarthritis is not very common in the elbow unless youve injured it in the past, for example if youve previously broken a bone.
The following types of arthritis can also affect the elbow:
- rheumatoid arthritis an autoimmune condition that can cause pain and swelling in joints. Joints can be red, hot, stiff and tender to touch. Autoimmune conditions are caused when your immune system, which normally protects you from illness and infection, gets confused and mistakenly attacks the bodys healthy tissue.
- psoriatic arthritis an autoimmune condition associated with the skin condition psoriasis , that causes patches of red, raised skin with white or silvery flakes. It can cause pain and swelling in and around joints.
- gout a type of arthritis that causes pain and swelling in joints. Its caused by a build-up of crystals of the waste product urate in the joints. Affected joints can be very painful, and the skin can sometimes be red and shiny.
Don’t Miss: Tommie Copper Knee Compression Sleeve
What Is Elbow Pain
Most elbow pain has a very simple cause and clears up within a few days. The pain usually comes from strained or inflamed soft tissues such as tendons. You can normally treat this pain yourself with over-the-counter painkillers and a few days’ rest, and you may not need to see your doctor.
Its important not to rest for too long as lack of movement causes your joint to stiffen and the muscles around your elbow to weaken, which increases the chance that you’ll have further symptoms. Simple exercises can help to reduce the risk of future problems. Long-term elbow pain can be caused by arthritis.
Causes Of Elbow Bursitis
There are many causes of elbow bursitis. However, it is usually the result of a direct blow to the tip of the elbow and widely seen in athletes. This condition can also arise due to an infection, gout, kidney failure, arthritis, and repetitive stress during golf, tennis, baseball and other activities that cause the elbow to swing at an object with force.
Recommended Reading: Elbow Pain When Lifting Weights
> > > Gout Gone For Good In Three Days
Lets think about this from the perspective of a machine less complicated than our bodies: your car. Gasoline is its nutrition, and maintenance and mechanical work is its exercise. Take any old rust bucket and give it those two things, and it will go from a creaking wreck to running smoothly.
Drugs would be adding nitrous to the car. Yes, nitrous can help your rust bucket shoot from 0 to 150 on the freeway. But what happens after that? Will it still hold up without proper fuel or maintenance?
The bottom line is that what you put in your body underpins the conditions for gout being present in the body.
How Gout Can Affect Your Elbow And Arm
Gout in the elbow is not that common but for gout sufferers since for most it begins and remains concentrated in the big toe or feet area when suffering an inflammatory attack. For some, as the disease progresses over the years, it can move up the body and affect the knees, arms, fingers and elbows. A first gout attack in the elbow is extremely rare so usually gout in the elbow will occur to somebody that has lived with gout after 10 to 15 years. Oftentimes, an attack will combine another joint like the big toe and elbow or big toe and knee.
The elbow is comprised of three bones and two of those bones belong to the forearm called the radius and ulna. The third bone is called the humerus which is also the largest and is the only bone in the upper arm. The humerus is very important to you because it is responsible for lifting, throwing and writing. So uric acid crystals will typically deposit in the middle where are all three bones connect in the joint capsule of the elbow.
A gout attack in the elbow will also happen unexpectedly, you will wake up in the morning to find that your elbow is suddenly swollen and painful. You will experience severe pain and tenderness, just like the big toe, your elbow will be extremely sensitive to any pressure even a bed sheet. Your elbow may appear red, warm and swollen as if its puffed up. Mobility in your arm will obviously be limited. The skin on your elbow may be peeling and flaking due to the redness. It might feel itchy as well.
Don’t Miss: Shoulder Hurts When I Breathe
Elbows Appearance And Other Symptoms
Another sign of gout is how your elbow looks during the attack. Gout will cause your elbow to become inflamed or swollen. This inflammation can start at your elbow and move to other areas of your body, such as your forearm or fingers. In addition, you may notice that the skin on your elbow appears shiny, constricted and red. After a few days, the skin on and around your elbow may start peeling.
What Are The Causes And Triggers Of Gout In The Elbow
The buildup of uric acid in the body is known as hyperuricemia. Your body produces uric acid when it breaks down purines. These are compounds found in all your cells. You can also find purines in several types of food, especially red meat and some seafood, as well as alcohol and some sugar-sweetened drinks.
Usually, uric acid passes through your kidneys, which help to eliminate extra uric acid in your urine. But sometimes theres too much uric acid for your kidneys to handle. In other cases, the kidneys cant process a typical amount of uric acid due to an underlying condition.
As a result, more uric acid circulates throughout your body, ending up in your elbow as uric acid crystals.
4 percent of adults in the United States. It tends to be more common in men because women usually have lower levels of uric acid. But after menopause, women start to have higher uric acid levels. As a result, women tend to develop gout at an older age than men do.
Experts arent sure why some people produce more uric acid or have trouble processing it. But theres evidence that the condition is often genetic.
Other things that may increase your risk of developing gout include:
- consuming a lot of high-purine foods
- consuming foods and drinks, especially alcohol, that increase uric acid production
- being overweight
Read Also: Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement Protocol
The Difference Between Gout And Bursitis
Another condition which can affect the elbow and might be confused for gout is bursitis. They both have similar symptoms and that is why its important to visit your doctor if you get an inflamed elbow to be properly diagnosed and treated. Bursitis is a condition that affects the small fluid-filled sacs that cushion the bones , tendons and muscles near the joints. When the small sacs get inflamed, bursitis occurs near joints that perform frequent repetitive motion like the knee, hip, shoulder, heel and elbow. Furthermore, bursitis is a condition that mostly needs rest to treat it.
Other conditions that might make you think its gout but might be something else nerve compression can cause pain in the elbow which are caused by the squashing or trapping of nerves. Rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis that affects the elbow joint can lead to stiffness, pain and inflammation of the elbow and arm. So watch out for that!
Do take note that people suffering from gout, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes have a higher risk of developing bursitis. Also take note that a complication of bursitis that sometimes affects the big toe is when a bunion develops. A bunion is a painful swelling on the first joint of the big toe. Usually a bony bump will appear. It forms when your big toe pushes against your next toe, forcing the joint of your big toe to get bigger and stick out. This too can be confused for gout and its very important to check it out.
Complications And Prevention Of Gout In Elbow
If improperly treated, gout can develop into more severe conditions. Recurrent gout is when a person experiences gout attacks several times a year, and if left untreated it can erode and destroy a joint. Advanced gout occurs when deposits of urate crystals form under the skin in nodules called tophi, which develop in several areas such as the fingers, hands, feet, elbows, or Achilles tendons. Tophi usually arent painful, but they can become swollen and tender during attacks.
Repeated gout flare-ups in the elbow can affect its function and even lead to permanent damage. Surgery would then be required to either restore function or to replace the joint entirely.
High levels of uric acid in the blood also lead to the formation of uric acid stones. Having stones in the kidney can cause excruciating pain and even lead to kidney damage and failure.
For these reasons, it is highly recommended to seek medical attention for gout as soon as possible and to take treatment for the condition very seriously. Your lifestyle plays an important role in the production of uric acid, with unhealthy diets and obesity being major contributors. If you are currently experiencing gout-like symptoms but are unsure if you actually have gout, it is advised that you speak to a health-care professional as they have the tools to reach a definitive diagnosis. By maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly, gout is relatively easy to avoid.
You May Like: What To Do For Tennis Elbow
How Elbow Bursitis Is Treated
Bursitis is a painful condition that involves inflammation of the bursae, the fluid-filled sacs that cushion joints throughout the body. A bursa may become inflamed for various reasons such as overuse or trauma and is characterized by swelling, redness, and stiff and achy joints. The large joints of the shoulder, knees, elbows, and hips are typically affected by bursitis.
Elbow bursitis usually occurs at the back or tip of the elbow. The bursa at the elbow is usually flat but swells up when it becomes irritated or inflamed. The usual culprits are infection, a direct blow to the area, or resting the tips of your elbows on a hard surface for prolonged periods of time. Technicians, athletes, and people with rheumatoid arthritis or gout are prone to developing elbow bursitis.
In most cases, elbow bursitis goes away within a few weeks with self-care remedies. In some cases, seeing a doctor for nonsurgical or surgical treatments may be necessary. Many patients with bursitis usually experience a recurrence.
Changing How You Move
The first thing to do if you have elbow pain is to change, or possibly stop, any movements that might be causing your symptoms or making them worse. Flare-ups of some conditions, where the symptoms become suddenly worse, can be eased by avoiding bending the elbow into certain positions.
If you do any tasks for work that involve repetitive movements such as using a screwdriver or painting, its worth discussing this with an occupational therapist. These are healthcare professionals who can suggest how to change your movements and ways to support your elbow while its healing.
A GP can refer you to an occupational therapist, or you can see one privately.
If your workplace has an occupational health department, they should be able to help.
You May Like: Fluid On The Elbow Joint
Diagnosing Tendonitis And Tenosynovitis
Your healthcare provider will ask about your health history and give you a physical exam. You may have tests to check for other problems that may be causing your symptoms. The tests may include:
Joint aspiration. The healthcare provider uses a needle to take a small amount of fluid from the joint. The fluid is tested to check for gout or signs of an infection.
X-ray. A small amount of radiation is used to make an image. Tendons cant be seen on an X-ray, but they can show bone. This test can check for arthritis.
How Common Is Elbow Gout
In terms of gout flare-ups, the elbows are not the most commonly affected joints the big toe, knees, hands, and even ankles are more likely to suffer from the condition. It is speculated that this may be due to the fact that the elbow joints are somewhat warmer than the joints found in the distal extremities. This makes sense as the parts of the body closest to the heart tend to be warmer due to increased blood circulation from the heart. Also, remember that uric acid crystal formation is promoted by colder temperatures.
Another explanation for the relative rarity of elbow gout is that the synovial fluid of the elbow joint is more alkaline, which means it has a higher pH level. Observations of previously documented cases of gout found that the higher pH levels of the synovial fluid of the elbow were associated with less virulent attacks.
Don’t Miss: Shoulder Reduction Surgery Before And After
What Are The Symptoms Of Gout
Symptoms of gout include:
- Warmth, pain, swelling, and extreme tenderness in a joint, usually a big toe joint. This symptom is called podagra. The pain often starts during the night. It may get worse quickly, last for hours, and be so intense that even light pressure from a bedsheet is intolerable.
- Very red or purplish skin around the affected joint. The joint may look infected.
- Limited movement in the affected joint.
- Peeling and itching of the skin around the affected joint as the gout gets better.
Gout attacks can last a few days or many weeks before the pain goes away. Another attack may not happen for months or years.
See your doctor even if your pain from gout is gone. The buildup of uric acid that led to your gout attack can still harm your joints.
How symptoms vary
How, where, and when the symptoms of gout appear vary.
- Some people have gout nearly all the time . Chronic gout in older adults may be less painful and can be confused with other forms of arthritis.
- Gout may lead to inflammation of the fluid sacs that cushion tissues, particularly in the elbow and knee .
- Gout can also affect the joints of the feet, ankles, knees, wrists, fingers, and elbows.
- Symptoms may occur after an illness or surgery.
- Gout may first appear as nodules on the hands, elbows, or ears. You may not have any of the classic symptoms of a gout attack.
How Does The Elbow Work
The elbow joint is where the long bone at the top of your arm, known as the humerus, meets the two bones in your forearm called the radius and the ulna. Its a hinge joint, and it allows you to bend your arm. The upper part of the radius can rotate so you can twist your forearm.
The end of the humerus has two bony parts that you can feel at either side of your elbow. These are:
- the lateral epicondyle on the outside of your arm
- the medial epicondyle on the inside of your arm.
Muscles attached to the outside of the humerus help you straighten your wrist and fingers. These are connected to the brain and nervous system through the radial nerve, which travels on the outside of the elbow.
Muscles attached to the inside of the humerus help you bend your wrist and fingers, and let you grasp objects. These muscles are connected to the brain and nervous system through the median nerve, which runs in front of the elbow.
The ulnar nerve, which is on the inside of the elbow is mainly responsible for the movements of the small muscles of the hand. These are useful for precise and delicate hand movements. The feeling of hitting your funny bone is caused by the ulnar nerve being pinched.
There are also strong cords in the elbow that help to hold the joint in place. Tendons attach muscles to bones and ligaments link bones together.
Don’t Miss: Elbow Support For Tennis Elbow
What Are The Symptoms Of Arthritis Of The Elbow
Symptoms of elbow arthritis can include:
- Pain. In the early stages of rheumatoid arthritis, pain may be primarily on the outer side of the joint. Pain generally gets worse as you turn your forearm. The pain of osteoarthritis may get worse as you extend your arm. Pain that continues during the night or when you are at rest indicates a more advanced stage of osteoarthritis.
- Swelling. This is more common with rheumatoid arthritis.
- Instability. The joint isn’t stable and gives way, making it difficult or impossible to do normal daily activities.
- Lack of full movement. You are not able to straighten or bend the elbow.
- Locking. Your elbow joint catches or locks. This can happen with osteoarthritis.
- Stiffness. This happens particularly with arthritis that develops after an injury.
- Pain in both elbows. Having pain in both elbows or pain at the wrists or shoulders as well as pain in the elbows is a symptom of rheumatoid arthritis.