The Link Between Gout and Knee Pain

The Link Between Gout and Knee Pain

There are many common causes of knee pain like a sprain, fracture, ACL injury, and more. However, other less obvious causes, such as gout, can also cause pain, swelling, and stiffness in this important joint. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to reduce the pain and get on the road to recovery.

Here at our private practice in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, Dr. Jeremy Woodson and our highly trained staff help people of all ages and activity levels lead lives as pain-free. Our treatments and preventive care are based on innovative protocols with measurable results and can address everything from injuries to health conditions like gout.

What is gout?

Gout is an inflammatory arthritis that can strike suddenly and leave the joint swollen, stiff, and in pain. It impacts about 2% of individuals and often affects the big toe, though the knee is also a common trouble spot.


When gout occurs in the knee, it can cause inflammation in and around the joint as well as in the fluid-filled sacs known as bursae that help cushion the area.

Swelling can result, and pain can come on quickly and severely. The joint may feel tender, and it may be difficult to put weight or pressure on it. The knee may also feel warm, and the skin could change color or become shiny. As the inflammation subsides, the skin may begin to itch, flake, and peel.

Episodes of gout come and go, with the worst symptoms occurring during flare-ups, which can last anywhere from three to ten days. After an individual recovers from their first flare-up, they may not have another one for months or years. But without preventive treatment, it will likely recur. Subsequent attacks can also involve multiple joints.


Gout occurs when there are high levels of uric acid in the bloodstream. About two-thirds of it is created by the body naturally. More is formed when the body processes purines — organic compounds found in some high-protein foods. Usually, the kidneys filter out uric acid, but a build-up can occur if the kidneys do not do this correctly or if too many purines are made by the body.

When people have high levels of uric acid, excess amounts can move from the bloodstream into soft tissues or joints and form tiny uric acid crystals. The immune system attacks them, causing inflammation.

Diagnosis and treatment

Any sudden or severe knee pain should be checked out by a professional. In the case of gout, our team typically takes a medical history, asks questions about the knee pain, and performs a physical exam. Diagnostic tests may include blood tests, a synovial fluid analysis to check for uric acid crystals, and X-rays or an ultrasound.

Treatment involves reducing the pain during a flare-up by using medication, applying ice, elevating the knee, resting, and more. Lifestyle changes related to diet and exercise may be recommended to reduce the risk of future episodes.

If you're experiencing knee pain, it's essential to get a proper diagnosis. Call our office today at 405-233-3602 for an appointment.

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