Gout impacts your joints, and you may associate it with swelling and foot pain. While gout commonly occurs in the feet, they aren't the only place this condition may affect.
Can you have gout in shoulders too?
Yes, you can.
Learn how to recognize gout in shoulder symptoms and manage the condition.
What Is Gout?
Gout is a form of arthritis that causes painful swelling. It occurs when urate crystals collect in joints. The crystals result in inflammation, which causes gout attack pain.
Urate crystals come from uric acid, which occurs naturally in the body. A healthy body either dissolves uric acid in the blood or passes it through urine. When your body produces too much, or your kidneys eliminate too little uric acid, they can become crystals, causing gout.
Can You Get Gout in Your Shoulder?
Gout usually impacts the joints and is most common in the feet, causing swelling in the big toe. However, gout can occur in any joint, including less common places like the shoulder.
While shoulder gout is possible, it is very rare. If you are experiencing shoulder pain, you need a professional diagnosis to evaluate whether your shoulder pain and swelling are from gout or another underlying condition.
How Can Gout Affect Your Shoulder?
When you have gout in your shoulder, you will experience sudden and sporadic pain and swelling, like gout in other areas. You may also notice extra stiffness and sensitivity, which can impact your range of motion.
Symptoms of Gout in Shoulders
Some common signs and symptoms of shoulder gout include:
- Redness in your shoulder
- Swelling around your shoulder joint
- Stiffness in your shoulder and arm
- Limited range of motion
- Extra sensitivity
- Hot or burning feeling
- Extreme painful attacks
- Chronic discomfort
Other Causes of Shoulder Pain
Because gout in the shoulder is rare, there is a possibility your shoulder pain may be from another condition. Here are some other common causes of sudden severe shoulder pain and swelling:
- Rotator Cuff Tendinitis: Your shoulder tendons are trapped under bone and become inflamed.
- Arthritis: Traditional arthritis can develop in the shoulder from damaged cartilage in the shoulder joint.
- Bursitis: Inflamed bursa, or fluid sacs in your shoulder joint cause pain and swelling.
- Bone spurs: Bony points can grow along your bone’s edge, often from osteoarthritis.
- Broken bones: Bones in your shoulder can fracture or break during a fall or other injury.
- Shoulder dislocation: Your upper shoulder bones come out of your shoulder socket, causing sudden, extreme pain.
- Shoulder overuse and injury: Overusing the muscles and tendons in your arm can cause discomfort and strain.
Treatment Options for Gout Shoulder Pain
Before treating your shoulder gout, please see a professional for an official diagnosis. Because shoulder pain can come from many causes, including fractures and strains, you’ll need to confirm gout is the root cause to avoid additional damage to any injury.
If a professional diagnoses your pain as shoulder gout, here are some treatment options.
Taking anti-inflammatory drugs can help reduce the gout symptoms in your shoulder. While over-the-counter drugs are available, you may also receive a prescription from your doctor, especially for more severe gout cases.
2. Use Ice Packs
When you have a gout attack in your shoulder, some patients find relief using ice packs. The coolness can help with the inflammation and ease the pain until it goes down to minor discomfort.
3. Eat a Healthy Diet
A gout diet has mixed results for patients. The goal of a gout diet is to reduce the amount of uric acid in your blood, which can reduce inflammation. A gout diet works best alongside other treatments, like medication.
Avoid foods high in uric acids, like liver, kidney, sweet bread, and red meat. Alcohol also increases gout flare-ups. Limit your sugary food intake.
Vitamin C may also lower uric acid levels, so consume foods high in the vitamin.
4. Manage Weight
Managing your weight decreases strain on your joints and affected gout areas, including your shoulder. A healthy lifestyle and weight also support your body as it heals and combats gout inflammation.
5. Reduce Strain
Lifting heavy items and performing excess shoulder exercises can exacerbate your shoulder's inflammation and worsen the pain. Talk to your doctor about what exercises are safe with your shoulder gout and what weight limit you can lift without furthering any shoulder damage.
Find Relief from Gout in the Shoulder
If you are experiencing sudden, severe shoulder pain with swelling, please see a professional for a diagnosis and treatment plan. Southwest Florida Rheumatology can help you treat gout in shoulders and other areas through our holistic and clinically-proven approaches.
Do you want to experience shoulder gout relief?
See us at one of our three locations.
Schedule an appointment for your customized treatment plan.