Gout is a common type of painful inflammatory arthritis. It typically affects only one joint at a time (often the big toe joint). There are times when symptoms worsen, referred to as flares, and times when there are no symptoms, referred to as remission. Gouty arthritis, a worsening form of arthritis, can result from repeated bouts of gout.

Causes and Risk Factors

Gout is caused by hyperuricemia, a condition in which the body has an excess of uric acid. When your body breaks down purines, which are found in your body and the foods you eat, it produces uric acid. When there is an excess of uric acid in the body, uric acid crystals (monosodium urate) can form in the joints, fluids, and tissues. Gout is not always caused by hyperuricemia, and hyperuricemia without gout symptoms does not require treatment.