Medical Information

Explore detailed information about a range of joint problems and treatments, including medications, surgery, physiotherapy and rehabilitation. Reading this will help you understand more about your own condition. There is also a glossary with explanations of many medical terms used in orthopaedics. You can find out even more by following the links page to other related websites, journals or professional medical associations.

Hover over links below to view summary or click on the link to view full article:


Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon

This booklet aims to explain what causes gout, the symptoms and the main treatments, and what can be done to help prevent attacks of gout. Medical terms are explained in the glossary at the back of the booklet – sources of further information are also included.

What is gout and what causes it?
Gout is often said to be the most painful of all the rheumatic diseases. Luckily, it is probably the one for which we have the most satisfactory treatments. Gout has been known for more than 2000 years. It can affect men of any age, but is much less common in women and then, apart from a few rare situations, only occurs after the menopause. The old saying that gout is caused simply by eating and drinking too much has now been proved wrong. It is true that if you over-indulge in alcohol (especially beer and wine) or food, attacks of gout are more likely, but that is not the whole story.

People get gout because there is something unusual about the chemical processes which take place within the body. A substance called urate can build up as crystals in joints. This tendency can be inherited from a parent or grandparent. Gout often runs in families. When urate crystals are deposited in a joint they cause inflammation – the joint becomes red, hot, swollen and intensely painful. The joints are not the only parts of the body to be affected. Urate crystals may also collect under the skin, including sometimes on the ears, forming small, firm, white pimples called ‘tophi’. These are not usually painful and generally cause no problems at all.
Link –

Editor: David P Johnson MD.
St Mary’s Hospital. Clifton Bristol. BS8 1JU.
Web site:
© OrthopaedicsOpinionOnline 2011

Full text pdf

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are not necessarily those of Orthopaedic Opinion Online or the author. The information is provided for general background reading only and should not be relied upon for treatment. Advice should always be taken from a registered medical practitioner for individual circumstances and for treatment of any patient in any circumstances. No liability is accepted by Orthopaedic Opinion Online, or the author in respect to the information provided in respect of the content or omission or for any reason or as a result of treatment in individual circumstances. This information is not for use in the USA.