Close this search box.

3 early gout symptoms that could signal a new gout attack is coming

gout symptoms

Symptoms of a gout attack may start well before you wake up with a searing toe or joint pain.  In this article we will explore three gout symptoms that may indicate a full gout attack is coming.

Gout symptoms before, during, and after a gout attack can vary

Many people think that a gout attack begins with pain, and that may be true for some, but you may also experience a number of symptoms before you feel the intense pain of a gout attack.

Taking quick action at the very outset of a gout attack can make the difference between a bit of discomfort for a day or two versus considerable pain for a week or much longer.  For those of you who prefer to limit medication to the absolute minimum, acting quickly and early with the right treatment plan may result in taking less medication for the duration of the attack.

Recognizing early gout symptoms: #1 – General feeling of being unwell or ill

One of the most overlooked gout symptoms that a painful gout attack might be around the corner is a general feeling of being ill or unwell.  You might have a fever, feel a little cold or have chills.

If you have had gout before, you will likely recognize this feeling as being different from a cold or some other ailment that you may have.  If you recognize this feeling before feeling any symptoms of pain in your joints, acting quickly with your gout attack plan can oftentimes completely thwart the gout attack.

Recognizing early gout symptoms: #2 – Unexplained joint stiffness

The second symptom that may indicate a gout attack is coming is that you start feeling that your toe, ankle or other joints feel stiff and you cannot pinpoint a specific reason for this such as a long hike or more strenuous exercise that may have caused it. 

As the uric acid crystals settle in more to your joint, you may feel stiffness in your joint before your body responds with inflammation, pain, and swelling.  If this is coupled with a general feeling of illness as well, then these are excellent indicators that a gout attack may be underway. 

Again, starting your gout attack treatment plan at this stage may achieve the best result in stopping or limiting the gout attack. The wait and see approach does not pay dividends with gout.

Recognizing early gout symptoms: #3 – Unexplained swelling in any part of your foot, ankle, or other joint where you may have gout before

The third symptom that may indicate a gout attack is coming is that you notice a little bit of swelling beginning, but the pain hasn’t begun yet.  You may also notice a bit of a dull pain which many people who have gout refer to as a twinge.  This is a particularly good sign when you have had a gout attack in that area before. 

Unless there is a reason for the twinge that you can clearly remember, like stubbing your toe for instance, that twinge or slight swelling may be the beginning of a gout attack.  Many people with gout often try to correlate the pain with some activity they were engaged in.  However, this results in a wait and see approach that may allow the gout to develop quickly and painfully…often overnight.

BONUS tip: Injuring a gouty joint may cause a gout attack

Lastly, if you do stub your toe or otherwise injure a joint where you may have had a previous gout attack, you should be on the lookout that a gout attack may start in the location where you have injured yourself. 

Gout attacks are known to be triggered by physical injury of a joint.  This can be tricky as it’s difficult to know if the pain you are feeling is from the physical trauma or a twinge of gout.  You may consider starting an acute gout treatment just in case and terminate that treatment if the symptoms resolve quickly.

Key takeaways: Be vigilant to gout symptoms and start treatment early

Since early treatment is the key to limiting or eliminating a gout attack, always be on the lookout for these signs and symptoms and do not hesitate to start your gout attack treatment plan.  If you have not yet developed a plan of action for treating a gout attack, do it today. 

Knowing what actions you’ll take will make all the difference in timely treating the gout attack.  You have to find the approach that is effective for your acute gout attack and doesn’t aggravate any other medical conditions you may have. 

Please discuss options with your doctor, but we recommend going to the appointment armed with alternatives you want to discuss so that you can agree on the right approach for you. And don’t forget to ensure that you follow a gout attack eating plan to further reduce gout symptoms and lower your uric acid levels quickly.

You might also like

Checking or checklist concept
Gout Attack

The 6 most important predictors of gout

Gout is a painful and debilitating arthritic condition that can require lifelong treatment, either through medication or substantial lifestyle modifications. It has been estimated to