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Gout in the Shoulder: Symptoms, Treatment, and Causes

Gout is a common form of arthritis that mainly affects the joints of the feet, but did you know it can also occur in the shoulder? While gout in the shoulder is less common than in other joints, it can still cause significant pain and discomfort. 

Can You Get Gout in Your Shoulder?

Absolutely! Gout is a condition most often associated with the big toe, but did you know it can also affect the shoulder? You can get gout in your shoulder, a painful experience disrupting your daily life. 

Let’s delve into gout in the shoulder, its symptoms, treatment options, and causes.

What is Shoulder Gout?

Gout in the shoulder, also known as “gout in shoulder” or “gout in neck and shoulder,” is a form of arthritis caused by the accumulation of urate crystals within the shoulder joint. 

These crystals cause inflammation, leading to severe pain and discomfort. Anyone can experience gout in the neck and shoulder, often with sudden, intense pain, redness, swelling, and limited mobility in the affected joint.

Gout in Shoulder Symptoms

Identifying the shoulder gout involves recognizing its distinctive symptoms:

Intense Pain 

Gout often strikes suddenly and fiercely, with the shoulder being no exception. The pain is usually severe and can last for several days. 

Swelling and Redness

The affected area becomes swollen, red, and tender to the touch, indicative of inflammation caused by the accumulation of urate crystals.

Limited Mobility

Gout can restrict movement in the shoulder joint, making it challenging to perform daily activities.

Causes of Gout in the Shoulder

Gout in the shoulder and other joints stems from an abnormal accumulation of uric acid within the body. This excess uric acid gives rise to the formation of urate crystals within the joints.

The production of uric acid occurs during the breakdown of compounds known as purines. These purines are derived from red meat, organ, anchovies, sardines, mussels, scallops, trout, and tuna. 

Ordinarily, the kidneys effectively eliminate uric acid from the body through urine. However, uric acid can accumulate in the body, including the joints, if the kidneys aren’t functioning correctly. 

Factors contributing to gout in the shoulder include:

1. Dietary Choices

Consuming an abundance of purine-rich foods, such as red meat, seafood, and sugary beverages, can significantly raise uric acid levels in your body. 

These foods are full of purines, compounds that, when broken down, form uric acid. When the intake of these purine-heavy foods is high, the body’s natural balance of uric acid can be disrupted, accumulating this substance. 

Consequently, elevated uric acid levels can trigger or worsen gout in the shoulder and other joints, causing discomfort and pain. 

Monitoring and moderating the consumption of these purine-rich foods is crucial in managing and preventing gout-related issues in the shoulder.

2. Genetics

Genetics are vital in the development of gout. If gout runs in your family, the likelihood of developing this painful condition increases. 

A family history of gout means that the genetic factors related to uric acid metabolism and its elimination may be passed down through generations. 

These genetic predispositions can make individuals more susceptible to gout, emphasizing the importance of understanding one’s family medical history and taking proactive steps to manage and mitigate the risk of gout, especially in the shoulder.

3. Medical Conditions

Certain medical conditions can significantly contribute to the onset of gout. Health issues such as the following can increase the risk of developing gout:

These conditions can disrupt the body’s normal uric acid regulation and elimination processes, leading to uric acid accumulation in the bloodstream. 

Suppose you suffer from any of the conditions given above. In that case, it can impact how effectively the kidneys filter and excrete uric acid, making individuals more susceptible to gout and its manifestations, including gout in the shoulder. 

It’s essential to manage these medical conditions effectively through appropriate treatment and lifestyle adjustments to reduce the risk of gout and its impact on the shoulder and other joints.

Other Conditions Resulting in Shoulder Pain

As previously mentioned, gout rarely impacts the shoulder joint. In your evaluation, your doctor may pinpoint and diagnose more prevalent sources of shoulder pain, such as:


– Tendonitis

– Tendon Tears


Shoulder Gout Treatment

If you suspect you have gout in the shoulder, consulting a healthcare professional, like those at Biofix Physical Therapy Lake Forest, is crucial for an accurate diagnosis. Treatment options may include:

1. Medications

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and colchicine can help manage pain and inflammation during a gout flare-up.

2. Lifestyle Changes

Making dietary adjustments, staying hydrated, and maintaining a healthy weight can aid in managing gout.

3. Effective Physical Therapy

Physical therapy can help improve shoulder mobility, strengthen muscles, and decrease the frequency and intensity of gout flare-ups.

Risk Factors

Gout is influenced by various risk factors, with gender being a significant determinant. Men face a notably higher risk, with gout being five times more prevalent in men than women.

Additional risk factors for gout include:

  • Carrying excess weight or being obese
  • Post-menopausal status in women
  • Consuming a diet rich in purine-containing foods
  • Heavy alcohol consumption
  • Utilizing specific medications like diuretics or water pills
  • High intake of fructose, a type of sugar

Diagnosing Gout in the Shoulder

Diagnosing gout in the shoulder generally involves a doctor conducting a physical examination and employing various tests such as blood analyses and imaging studies like X-rays, CT scans, and MRIs. 

These diagnostic measures are crucial for excluding alternative sources of shoulder discomfort and confirming gout as the root cause.

How to Prevent Gout?

To prevent gout, one can adopt these lifestyle practices:

  • Adhering to a balanced diet involves consuming limited or moderate quantities of foods and beverages high in purines.
  • Maintaining a healthy body weight.
  • Engaging in regular physical exercise.
  • Staying well-hydrated by drinking ample water.
  • Quitting smoking.

Additionally, it can be beneficial to monitor and identify triggers that may cause a flare-up of gout in your shoulder, helping you steer clear of future episodes.

Wrapping Up Your Journey Toward a Pain-Free Shoulder

Gout in the shoulder can cause significant discomfort and limit daily activities. Recognizing the symptoms, understanding the causes, and seeking appropriate treatment can help manage gout effectively. 

If you are experiencing gout symptoms in your shoulder, consult a healthcare professional who can diagnose adequately and guide you toward an effective treatment plan. 

Remember, early intervention and lifestyle modifications can go hand in hand in preventing future gout attacks and maintaining overall joint health.

Take Action for a Pain-Free Shoulder

Don’t let gout in your shoulder hold you back from enjoying life to the fullest. If you’re struggling with gout pain in the shoulder, contact Biofix Physical Therapy. Our expert is dedicated to providing tailored solutions to help you face and treat pain and regain mobility.

Schedule a consultation today to take the first step towards a pain-free, active lifestyle.

Picture of Dr. Phillip Carr

Dr. Phillip Carr

Dr. Phillip Carr PT, DPT, MS, PES, owner of BioFix Physical Therapy, boasts 20+ years of athletic training/coaching experience. His diverse expertise encompasses musculoskeletal issues, joint replacements, and more. With a 2018 Doctorate in Physical Therapy, he's a dedicated professional, family man, and youth soccer team assistant coach. Phillip Carr is your trusted source for holistic physical therapy insights.