Medical History and Physical Exam for Gout
A medical history and a physical exam are often used to
During the medical history, your doctor will typically
ask about any:
- History of gout in your immediate
- History of sudden attacks of
arthritis affecting one joint, especially the big toe, foot, ankle, knee, wrist, or finger.
- History of wrist or ankle sprains or tendinitis without having an injury or your symptoms go away on their own in about a week.
injury or surgery.
- Recent infections of the skin, kidney, bladder, or lung.
- Alcohol use.
- Exposure to
- Recent diets.
- Medical conditions, including
high blood pressure, high
kidney disease, and
- Use of certain medicines,
diuretics and aspirin.
During a physical exam, your doctor will:
- Take your temperature.
Fever may accompany gout attacks.
the skin over the painful joint to see whether it is warm, tender, red, or
- Check the skin over the affected joint for cuts that may
be a source of infection.
- Feel the joint to assess
- Check the range of motion of the affected
- Examine your hands, elbows, feet, ankles, knees, and
earlobes for gritty, chalky clumps of
uric acid crystals called
If your medical history and physical exam clearly suggest that
you have gout, further testing may be postponed until treatment relieves pain
and swelling or until subsequent attacks occur.
If the diagnosis remains unclear after the history and physical
exam, your doctor may order a blood test to measure the
level of uric acid in your blood. He or she may also order a joint fluid aspiration test to examine
joint fluid for uric acid crystals.
|Primary Medical Reviewer||Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine|
|Specialist Medical Reviewer||Nancy Ann Shadick, MD, MPH - Internal Medicine, Rheumatology|
|Last Revised||June 12, 2012|