This page about finger gout was last reviewed, or updated, on 1 July 2015.
A significant feature about gout in the finger is that the fingers are not usually the first attack location. Gout will probably have attacked other body joints before it turns its attention to the fingers. This means that when gout attacks the fingers, it will have been bodily
present for some time. Therefore uric acid levels will probably be high, 9.0 mg/dL and above, if treatment for gout hasn't lowered it. If this is so, finger gout could take much longer to control
knuckles may be a place where warning signs of a gout
attack appear. They are the joints that connect the fingers to the
hands. So being a joint, as with the popular-with-gout big toes joints,
they are a place where uric acid deposits, and may crystallise
gout on the knuckle. Knuckle pain is
often an early sign of gout in the fingers.
How long does gout last in the fingers?
Another unfortunate feature is that some experienced gout sufferers report that finger gout attacks last longer than, for example, gout flares in the big toes or other parts of the feet and ankles. One of the characteristics of gout is that the longer you have had it, the longer attacks become.
The average gout attack lasts from 3 to 10 days. But the average finger attack will probably last much longer. Three weeks has been reported, and so has two years. There may be a simultaneous attack in another body part, medically called polyarticular gout, which is another sign that gout has got worse.
Cross your fingers
So one suspects that a finger attack means that gout treatment has not gone well - that uric acid levels are not falling. It means that if very close attention to all possible gout remedies has not been made in the past, it certainly should be now. It's a real warning that you must try everything you can to get gout under control. This includes regular uric acid tests. On the other hand, if the fingers are the first attack spot, the situation isn't as serious, but the first gout attack is always (or should be) a life changing event.
Amongst the toes, the big toe is invariably the first target, and usually always a target amongst all the toes. In the fingers you might think the thumb would be the most attacked, being somewhat dissimilar to the rest, as is the big toe. And both fingers and toes are cold parts of the body, susceptible to gout flares.
But there are reasons why the big toe is attacked first. that don't apply to the thumb.
Who is more likely to get finger gout?
Consistent with the idea that a finger gout attack is a sign that gout is more entrenched, is the fact that finger attacks are more common in older people. They have had more time for uric acid to build up. Finger attacks are especially common among post menopause older women.
Any of the fingers can be attacked. A curiosity noted by many gouty folk is that gout only attacks them in the same fingers. The thumb and index in some, or the middle ones in others and so on. But it leaves the rest alone. It may begin in one finger and move on to another, so it's in two or three. The smallest outside finger (pinky finger) is not exempt. Neither are the finger tips (finger pads). And gout may have its favourite (favorite) gout finger joints.
What happens - like frostbitten fingers or fingers like parsnips ?
Finger joints swell when tophi develop in the joints and under the skin of a wrinkled gouty finger. They continue to swell as more tophi get deposited. Tophi can even develop in the finger tips (finger pads) or at the end of finger bones, or on the bones. Fingers will probably stiffen and can't be moved. Cuticles become out-of-shape and broken. Eventually the bones and the joints can be deformed and damaged.
Swollen finger joints are among gout's most vivid images. If not like small parsnips, finger gout can look like a quail's egg has grown on the side of a finger. Or the whole finger can swell to three times its normal size, as if it suffers frostbite.
The white dot pustule (pimple) on the middle finger
that looks to be trying to push out, is a sign of gout
If you have finger pain, is it really a gout in the finger attack?
If you have finger pain gout is not necessarily the cause. Even if the pain is in one of the finger joints. The signs and symptoms of gout in the big toe - reddish, shiny, inflamed, hot and of course very painful, are similar in the fingers. There may also be pus in the finger.
A swelling in the finger could be psoriatic arthritis, not gout.
This drug may be more effective against tophi in the fingers than any existing gout drug medication. Krystexxa is not a tablet or capsule. It's a course of intravenous (IV) infusions, probably every two weeks, at an approved medical center (centre) which gout sufferers visit.
See for yourself what Krystexxa can do.
There are before-and-after photos of some of the trials' successes with finger gout tophi on PDF pages 19 and 42 (two sets of photos on page 42) of a Krystexxa submission document. You can download it free, or view it online, at this page at the U.S. FDA website
The one to download or view is "KRYSTEXXA™ (pegloticase) for intravenous infusion BLA No. 125293 ..."