Gout is a type of arthritis that most commonly affects the joint of the big toe but can affect other joints, including the knee. Gout is caused by uric acid deposits in joints. It can be diagnosed by blood tests and analysis of fluid in the affected joint.
The most definitive symptom of gout in the knee is sudden, intense pain. People describe this pain as throbbing and excruciating. It usually lasts five to 10 days before subsiding gradually over the next week or two.
The knee likely will look red or bruised and feel warm or even hot. It may be tender and swollen, and sometimes will look infected.
After the Attack
After the pain subsides, the knee is normal and seems as though the gout attack had never occurred. Some people never have another attack, while others may have recurrent episodes. Some develop chronic gouty arthritis.
A person with chronic gouty arthritis in the knee has persistent pain and large uric acid deposits in the cartilage, tendons and soft tissues surrounding the knee. The knee is stiff and has limited motion.
Skin lumps over the deposits also may develop. These sores, called tophi, sometimes drain a chalky white pus.