Thumb Tophi – Worst Symptom of Thumb Gout

Thumb tophi join the collection of lumps on the hand for victims of tophaceous gout.

As you can see from the photograph below, a thumb tophus can be particularly debilitating if it stops you gripping effectively.

The one shown below is not the worst I’ve seen, but bad enough to make you think twice about leaving your uric acid level above 5mg/dL.

Unfortunately, we do not have a corresponding photograph of the thumb after treatment, but almost all similar case studies show that the tophi dissolve if uric acid is maintained at a suitably low level. If you use the search boxes near the top and bottom of each page to search for lower faster, you will see that aiming for low uric acid is always a good idea when tophi are present.

Thumb Tophi Photograph

Thumb Tophi with Gout Crystals

Thumb Tophi Information

The photograph is one of a series of seven gout pictures from “A Photo Essay of Gouty Arthritis” in Consultant Live[1]. As this is not a regular gout case study, we do not have all the background. I have paraphrased the description of the photograph below, and you can see the original text if you click the photograph.

The thumb of a 70-year-old man shows a white patch surrounded by red inflammation.

The thumb was lanced, and fluid collected, which was analyzed under a microscope, revealing crystals. The crystals split polarizing light in a way that identified them as uric acid crystals. This confirmed a diagnosis of gout.

Results of tests showed a uric acid level of 8.5 mg/dL (0.51 mmol/L) in the blood. The original description refers to a normal range, which is meaningless. You will find information about why this is meaningless if you search for normal uric acid in the search box above or below.

Gout appears first in a single joint, for most gout patients. The essay mentions 70%, but there is no reference for this. Gout involving multiple joints is seen occasionally. This case, where gout is diagnosed despite no swollen joints, is rare.

Thumb Tophi: Next Steps

In this example, the patch of gout crystals is very clear, presumably due to skin bursting at some point. Often, the tophi show as lumps of varying size. If you have unusual growths on your thumbs, you should consult your doctor immediately. You do not have to become a Gout Victim. Also, see more facts for Gout Victims.

Leave Thumb Tophi to browse other Tophi pages.


Thumb Tophi References

  1. Original from Consultant Live article/10162/2103463. Now renamed Patient Care Online. Flagged for review to present PDF file.


Thumb Tophi Document Change History

Thumb Tophi Document Change HistoryTo read the document change history, click the GoutPal History image on the right.

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Finger Tophi

Finger tophi don’t always hurt, but they do stop you gripping. Even painless tophi make life difficult when your fingers are affected.

These finger tophi photographs show what happens when tophaceous gout hits your fingers.

Like toes and ears, fingers are subject to lower temperatures, so these extremities are common targets for tophi. A tophus, the singular of tophi, can form in any soft tissue when you have gout. This page covers gout in and around the finger joints.

Tophi In The Index Finger

Tophi On Index Finger Photographs
Tophi On Index Finger Photos - click for details

It is difficult to say if this is a grouping of several tophi, or a single tophus. It doesn’t really matter, if you have several lumps or one big one, you can be certain that you need to get treatment fast. Early uric acid lowering treatment at maximum dose will ensure that tophi shrink as fast as possible. This can often avoid lancing or other surgical procedures, and dose can be relaxed after a year or so to maintain uric acid at a safe level of 5mg/dL (0.30 mmol/L).

I cannot imagine how difficult it must be to perform everyday tasks with tophi on the fingers. I have experienced swollen joints in my wrist, fingers, and hand, and I know how difficult that made life for me. Best to get your acute gout fixed before it gets tophaceous, so head over to the Gout Treatment department and get your uric acid safe.

If tophi are left to grow, they make treatment for gout more difficult and more invasive.

More Finger Tophi Photographs

Gouty Tophi In Finger Bone
This gouty tophi in the finger bone report shows how tophaceous gout can spread throughout the body. Stay safe from uric acid crystals and keep your levels low.
Finger Lost To Gout
Have you had a finger lost to gout? Don’t dismiss gouty fingers. Untreated gout leads to bone destroying tophi. See how to avoid losing your fingers to gout.

I will add to this list as new pictures of tophi on the fingers become available.

I am always on the lookout for interesting gout pictures. Do you have photographs of tophi or other gout-related images, please share your gout pictures.

Leave Finger Tophi to browse other Tophi pages