Keith’s GoutPal Story 2020 Forums Please Help My Gout! Years of numbness before attack?

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    Al O’Purinol

    I'm a 58 y/o guy, 175cm (5'9″), 79kg (174lbs), better than average fitness (long distance cyclist), non-smoker, non-drinker, healthy eater and have just had my first attack of gout — on Xmas eve no less — in the ball of my right foot.  Seriously painful!  Responding well to drugs (indomethacin).

    However I've had non-trivial numbness in the soles of both feet for about three years, plus a bit of pain in the tip of the second toe of the left foot for the past few weeks.  My GP had diagnosed the numbness as a lower back problem.  My UA was slightly elevated when tested as part of a wide range of blood tests about 4 years ago but was in the normal range when tested about a month ago.

    My question to the forum:  given that the numbness preceded the attack of gout pain by such a long period, is it likely to be connected?


    Acute gout pain is the result of our immune system attacking uric acid crystals. If crystals are few, then the reaction does not reach the incredibly painful stage. I have certainly experienced numbness, which I am certain is caused by gout.

    Please do not be misled by uric acid lab results that report “slightly elevated” or “within the normal range”. Because in most cases, these assessments are totally meaningless as they are simple lab testing averages that include people with gout. You need to know your uric acid number.



    Foot numbness is usually associated with sciatica due to an irritation of one of the spinal nerve roots. In these cases it is almost universal to have buttock pain/numbness and a tingling down the leg that follows the particular nerve root. In my case the damage is either to the nerves at L5-L4 or L5-S1. The numbness goes down the outside of my left calf to my little toe. Thank god it's only occasional from an ancient serious back injury.

    My guess is that your GP is correct about the back problem. BUT it MAY well be that uric acid is also involved in some spinal originating pain (and numbness…called paesthesias.) Several doctors have made that claim but as of now it is only hypothesis.

    Anything that presses on a nerve for an extended period will cause paresthesia and eventual pain. The sourse is where the numbness begins. If you feel; it only in your foot it might be a tophus; if you feel it in your calf the impingement is from higher up.

    Keith Taylor

    I’ve just closed down the only other discussion of numbness associated with gout. That was about numb lips, and someone asked if they could be caused by gout. At the time, I thought it unlikely, and I could not find any medical references to it.

    I still cannot find any medical references to numb lips caused by gout. But I now know more about the insidious nature of gout. It really can affect any part of the body (probably with the exception of the brain). As such, I’m not sure how much value there is in discussing specific parts of the body. I’d like to get a better understanding of gout numbness in general before I repeat anything like my earlier statement:

    Numb lips are much more likely to be something else. It is very common for gout sufferers to have other medical conditions.

    To restart the discussion of gout numbness, I’d like to ask other gout sufferers to describe there experience of numbness.

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