Tophi: Illustrated Reference Guide

Tophi are lumps of uric acid crystals. Tophi are the plural of tophus, meaning stone. They start as small jelly-like lumps under gout patients skin. Left untreated, they grow and harden forming disfiguring tumors. Eventually, tophi can burst the skin and destroy joints. They also damage kidneys, heart and other organs. See why you have to stop tophi before gout destroys your body.

The tophi pages feature pictures of the worst effects of gout. Actually, these visually shocking images featuring shocking pictures of disfiguring gouty tophi only tell part of the story. Tophi usually refers to large deposits of uric acid crystals under the skin. Because those crystals form lumps that move when pushed. Other deposits nearer the bone, especially in joints are often more dangerous. I have written about the dangers of uric acid crystals in and around the joints several times. You can find these by searching for bone erosion or joint destruction in the search box at the top of each page.

Tophi, though unsightly, do not usually cause significant pain unless they restrict mobility near a joint, or burst through the skin. This second phenomenon can cause other problems if the resulting wound becomes infected.

Tophi can be removed by surgery. Also, they will shrink if uric acid is maintained at safe levels. The safe level is often recognized as 6mg/dL (0.36mmol/L). However, 5mg/dL is a better target, as this allows for a suitable safety level. Several months at a much lower level is the fastest way to shrink tophi without surgery.

The pages below refer to tophi in different parts of the body, often with tophi pictures which some gout sufferers may find upsetting as they display the most grotesque symptoms of gout. In the Gout Treatment section, I explain ways you can remove tophi. You might also be interested in my early review of Why Tophi Are Important To Gout Sufferers.

Tophi In The Toe

Gouty Tophi In Toe Photograph - click for details

Tophi In Other Joints

Thumb Tophi
Tophi on the thumb can make it hard to grip. That might make you drop things, but you should really be dropping your uric acid level.
Tophi In The Fingers
Tophi are debilitating anywhere, but in the fingers, they make everyday tasks difficult. See how to avoid gout getting so serious and stop finger tophi before they stop you.
Feet Tophi
If you get feet tophi, walking is difficult. With big gouty tumors stopping you walking, is it not time to fix your gout?

Tophi In Other Tissues

As well as under the skin around joints, tophi can form in all tissues. This section records tophi forming in various organs around the body.

Penis Tophi
This penis tophi report is a man with uric acid deposits growing painfully as a lump on the penis. Surgery resolved the problem. See how to avoid this yourself.

I will post more images of tophi here, and extend the number of pages. If you have any appropriate photographs, please share your gouty tophi pictures.

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Medical Disclaimer: The pupose of GoutPal is to provide jargon-free explanations of medical gout-related terms and procedures. Because gout sufferers need to know what questions to ask their doctor. Also, you need to understand what your doctor tells you. So this website explains gout science. But it is definitely NOT a substitute for medical advice.

Information on this website is provided by a fellow gout sufferer (Keith Taylor) with an accountant's precision for accurate data. But no medical qualifications. So you must seek professional medical advice about gout and any other health matters.

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