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Health ArticlesWhat is the difference between pseudogout and gout?

What is the difference between pseudogout and gout?

What is the⁢ Difference Between Pseudogout⁤ and Gout?


Gout ‍and‍ pseudogout are both forms of arthritis that can ‌cause sudden and intense joint pain. While‌ they share some similarities, there⁤ are key differences between the two conditions. It is ⁤important to understand⁢ these differences in order to receive the​ correct diagnosis and appropriate treatment. In this ⁢article, ⁣we will explore the key differences, symptoms, ‌diagnosis, treatment options, and when to seek medical help for both pseudogout ‌and gout.

pseudogout and gout

Key Differences

Although ​gout and pseudogout can both lead‌ to severe ⁢joint pain, the main difference lies in the crystals that develop​ in the ⁣joints. Gout is caused by the buildup of uric acid crystals, while pseudogout is triggered by​ calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate crystals. These crystals have distinct shapes under a microscope and can help doctors differentiate between ⁤the two conditions.

Another important​ difference is the joints that are commonly affected. Gout typically affects the big toe, but it can also involve the ankles, knees, elbows, and wrists. On the other hand, pseudogout often affects the knee joint, but it can also involve the ​wrists, shoulders, ankles, and elbows.⁤ Recognizing the⁣ specific joint involvement can aid in the accurate diagnosis of each ‌condition.


The symptoms of both pseudogout and gout can be similar, including sudden and severe joint pain, redness, swelling, and warmth at ⁤the affected joint. However, there are some differences worth⁣ noting. In gout, the pain often begins in the middle of the night and becomes⁣ so intense that even ⁤the slightest touch is unbearable. Pseudogout, on the other hand, tends to have ⁣a more gradual ​onset, and the pain is generally less severe than in gout.

In addition, pseudogout may be accompanied by symptoms such as fever, chills, and a⁢ feeling of‌ weakness, which are not commonly associated with gout. These variations in symptoms can assist doctors in making an accurate diagnosis and determining the most appropriate treatment plan for each patient.


Diagnosing ‌pseudogout and ⁢gout typically involves a ​combination of factors. Medical history and ⁢physical examination play a significant role ‍in the diagnosis. Additionally, collecting fluid from the affected joint and analyzing it under a microscope can help identify‍ which crystals are present.

In gout, a test called a joint aspiration or arthrocentesis reveals the presence of uric acid crystals, whereas pseudogout is diagnosed when calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate crystals are ⁣found in the joint​ fluid. These diagnostic tests ⁤are essential in ⁤distinguishing⁢ between pseudogout‍ and gout, leading to accurate diagnosis​ and appropriate treatment interventions.


Treating ‍pseudogout and gout revolves around managing symptoms, preventing future attacks, and reducing joint damage. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)⁣ are commonly prescribed ‌to ​alleviate pain and⁢ reduce inflammation for both conditions. In some cases, corticosteroids may be prescribed ⁤orally or injected into the affected joint to provide rapid relief.

For chronic gout, medications such as xanthine oxidase⁤ inhibitors and uricosurics may⁣ be prescribed to lower uric acid ‌levels in the body. Pseudogout ⁣treatment often focuses on managing underlying conditions and relieving symptoms. ⁣Physical therapy and joint aspiration may also be recommended in specific cases to relieve pain and improve joint mobility.

When to Seek Doctor Help

If you experience sudden and intense joint pain, it is essential to seek ⁤medical help. While‍ home remedies like applying ‌ice packs and elevating the affected joint can provide temporary relief,⁤ it is crucial to consult ​a healthcare professional for an accurate ‌diagnosis and appropriate treatment. If you have‍ a known history of gout or pseudogout and are experiencing a flare-up, contact your doctor for guidance on managing ‍the symptoms.


In summary, the key differences between pseudogout and gout lie in the crystals that form⁣ in the ‍joints and⁣ the specific joints commonly affected. While gout is ⁢caused by uric acid crystals and ‌often affects the big toe,‌ pseudogout is triggered by calcium pyrophosphate‌ dihydrate crystals and commonly affects the knees. The symptoms and severity of pain may also differ between the two conditions. Accurate diagnosis is crucial to determine the appropriate treatment, which often includes NSAIDs and⁤ sometimes corticosteroids. If you suspect you have either condition, seeking medical help promptly is essential for effective management of symptoms and prevention of joint damage.


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