The type of inflammatory arthritis known as gout usually affects the joints in the big toe, but that’s not the only place where it hits. Moreover, gout can imitate other conditions, raising the risk for misdiagnoses. Patients in Kentucky should know about the following conditions because they can all be misdiagnosed as gout or vice versa.
First, there is pseudogout. Like gout, it involves the depositing of crystals in a person’s joints; the difference between the two lies in what the crystals are made of. Gout is caused by an elevated level of uric acid, but pseudogout is caused by crystallized calcium pyrophosphate. Doctors can distinguish between the two while a patient is having a gout flare-up.
Septic arthritis, otherwise known as an infected joint, is another condition confused with gout because both result in fever and a spike in one’s white blood cell count. Or, patients may have a bacterial skin infection, which causes areas on one’s skin to become red, swollen and hot.
When gout affects several joints, it can be mistaken for rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis. All three can lead to visible bumps around the joints. When it’s gout, the bumps are called tophi. Testing the fluid in the nodules can help in diagnosis. Lastly, people with a broken toe may think they have gout.
Even when a particular condition is hard to diagnose, doctors may not be entirely free from blame in misdiagnosing it. Those who had their gout or other condition misdiagnosed and had to suffer as a result of it may build up a case under medical malpractice law. To see how strong it can be, they may want a lawyer to assess it. The lawyer may hire third parties to conduct a medical investigation before determining a fair amount in damages.