This page about finger gout was last reviewed, or updated, on 30 January 2018.
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, perhaps 9.0 mg/dL and above, if treatment for gout hasn't lowered it. The doctor in the video below, squeezing (aspiration) tophi out of a gouty finger,correctly says the patient has severe gout.
If this is so, and it is likely, finger gout could take much longer to control.
How long does gout last in the fingers?
A second and 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. The longer you have had it, the longer and deeper attacks become. If your finger gout is a symptom of suffering gout for some years you need to note this.
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. That is another sign gout has got worse.
Knuckle gout Your 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 (crystallize) to gout on the knuckle. Knuckle pain is often an early sign of gout in the fingers.(More about gout in the knuckles below, plus a link to a video to watch).
Cross your fingers - if you can
I suspect too that a finger attack means 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. And frequent trips to the doctor
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 (and should be) a life changing event.
Among the toes, the big toe is invariably the first target, and usually always a toe target. 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 colder 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 in their blood. 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 finger in others. But it leaves the rest alone.However, it may begin in one finger and move on to another, so it ends up in two or three. The smallest outside finger (the 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. Note this in the video below - squeezing tophi out.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, not tophi, although pus might seem like tophi, in tophi's early stages.
A swelling in the finger could be psoriatic arthritis, not gout.
The gout biologic drug Krystexxa 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.
Squeezing (aspiration) tophi out of the finger of a gout sufferer
Watch this video on YouTube It demonstrates tophi removal from a finger by a doctor.This brings some relief.
Gout in the knuckles
As mentioned above, you can also get gout in a finger’s knuckle, the places where the finger bends and joins the hand. Gout crystals can develop into tophi here, even in small spots like these.
Here is a YouTube video of someone taking tophi out of one of his knuckles. I advise you not to attempt this yourself but see your doctor about it. This person's gout has reached the tophi stage which means it is well entrenched. If so, a doctor should be very familiar with your gout.
Finger gout conclusion
As with gout in all parts of the body, there is no specific treatment for finger gout, expect the removal of tophi from the fingers. And no medication for only the fingers - gout's needle shaped crystals are mainly the same wherever they are deposited, except that they vary in size.
The universal control of gout in any body part comes from reducing uric acid in the blood by drugs or natural remedies. Removing tophi from fingers will help but it will probably return since that does not control gout.
Finger gout related pages