Gout: Artist feels as though she has ‘a foot full of glass shards’ – symptoms

Eamonn Holmes discusses Liam Gallagher's arthritis struggles

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One gout patient has said it feels like a “foot full of glass shards”.

That patient is Sue McDonagh, 64, an artist based in South Wales.

A cancer and heart attack survivor, McDonagh says nothing compares to the pain she has experienced from gout: “As soon as I had an attack, that was it. I had to stop what I was doing, keep my foot raised at all times and do nothing, I couldn’t work, couldn’t sleep.

“Even hobbling to the toilet at night on walking sticks was really painful.”

Although gout is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis, some patients don’t feel they get the right treatment.

One study published in The Lancet found gout patients were not receiving the right medicine.

This was despite said drugs being highly effective and cheap.

What this means is patients, like McDonagh, spend years suffering before they get the right treatment.

Speaking about her previous attacks she says her life used to be dominated by gout: “I felt like my life was defined by gout.

“It would start with a tell-tale throb at 4am and then would last for about a week at a time.”

McDonagh and other experts say there’s a stigma around gout, a belief that it mainly affects older men, but one that needs to be changed.

McDonagh said when she told people about her diagnosis they said: “‘You want to stay off the port.’ But it wasn’t funny.”

What are the symptoms of gout?

The symptoms of gout are similar to other forms of arthritis; this means several painful joints and hot, swollen, and red skin over an affected joint.

How long does an attack of gout last?

The NHS say an attack normally lasts “five to seven days, then gets better”.

How is gout treated?

Gout, like other chronic conditions, is managed as much as it is treated.

Ways recommended to ease the symptoms include:
• Taking any medicine which has been prescribed as soon as possible
• Resting and raising the affected limb
• Keeping the joint cool
• Drinking lots of water
• Try to keep bedclothes off the affected joint at night.

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