Gout may be suspected based on symptoms and medical history. Because there are several joint disorders with similar symptoms, other tests may be done to rule them out.
A standard test for gout is arthrocentesis. A needle is inserted into a joint or tophus and a fluid sample is removed. The fluid is evaluated under a microscope to look for uric acid crystals. Uric acid crystals are present in nearly all cases of gout.
Blood tests may also be done to measure the level of uric acid crystals in the blood. Blood tests are also useful to rule out other joint conditions.
Imaging tests evaluate the joint and surrounding structures. These may include:
Gout. American College of Rheumatology website. Available at: http://www.rheumatology.org/I-Am-A/Patient-Caregiver/Diseases-Conditions/Gout. Updated September 2012. Accessed December 5, 2014.
Gout. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated August 28, 2014. Accessed December 5, 2014.
Gout. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases website. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Gout/gout_ff.asp. Updated July 2010. Accessed December 5, 2014.
Gout testing. American Association for Clinical Chemistry Lab Tests Online website. Available at: http://labtestsonline.org/understanding/conditions/gout/start/1. Updated June 25, 2013. Accessed December 5, 2014.
Pittman JR, Bross MH. Diagnosis and management of gout. Am Fam Physician. 1999;59(7):1799-1806.
4/24/2014 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed: Wise JN, Weissman BN, Appel M, et al. American College of Radiology (ACR) Appropriateness Criteria for chronic foot pain. Available at: http://www.acr.org/~/media/ACR/Documents/AppCriteria/Diagnostic/ChronicFootPain.pdf. Updated 2013. Accessed December 5, 2014.
Last reviewed March 2016 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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