The only certain way to diagnose
gout is to have a joint fluid analysis
(arthrocentesis) test to see whether uric acid crystals are present. But for
people with an acutely swollen, red, painful big toe, where it is often
hard to obtain joint fluid, a diagnosis can be made by the presence of a
high blooduric acid level.
examinations and tests may help with diagnosis and treatment of gout:
X-rays of extremities (hands and feet) are sometimes
useful in the late stages of the disease, X-rays are not usually helpful in the
early diagnosis of gout. When gout is in a late stage, nodules (tophi) or even
"punched-out" (worn away or eroded) areas of bone near joints may be seen. The
pain of gout often causes people to seek medical attention before any long-term
changes can be seen on an X-ray. But X-rays may help to rule out other causes
of arthritis. See an
X-ray of gout in the foot.