What are the effects of gout on the shoulder?

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It is a known fact that purines are part of the structure of nucleic acids. These are present in almost every cell in the body. Once purines are broken down by the body, they form uric acid which is a waste product that is normally eliminated by the kidneys. Gout is a condition that develops due to the accumulation of uric acid in the body. The uric acid that accumulates will form piercing crystals that accumulate in the joints. Even though the shoulder is not frequently involved than the joints of the knee, foot and ankle, it can still be disturbed by gout.


Due to the sharp structure of the uric acid crystals, it leads to the irritation of the soft tissues of the joint that has been affected by gout, resulting to pain. In some cases, these crystals can become prevalent that they can provide the joint with a spike-like appearance once an X-ray is taken which is called as porcupine shoulder. The pain connected with gout can be throbbing, excruciating and crushing. It can occur abruptly, most often in the middle of the night and can be severe that even slight pressure can trigger extreme pain. There are pain management measures that can help aside from the medications. By enrolling in a course of first aid, you can learn these pain management measures.

Gout on the shoulder
Due to the sharp structure of the uric acid crystals, it leads to the irritation of the soft tissues of the joint that has been affected by gout, resulting to pain.


The condition can cause the inflammation of the joint which manifests in symptoms such as swelling and redness. The swelling occurs once the body floods an irritated area with histamines which increase the penetrability in the blood vessels. This will allow an increase in the amount of fluids to flow out of the blood vessels and into the tissues of the affected area.

Formation of tophi

Once gout has reached to a chronic stage, the individual can experience the formation of tophi. These are knobby, crystalline bumps that accumulate under the skin of the affected joint. Tophi do not usually cause pain but it can manifest if they interfere with the function of the joint.

In some cases, drainage of chalk-like material from the tophi can occur. Always bear in mind that tophaceous gout in the muscles of the shoulder is uncommon than pseudogout that develops on the same joint. Pseudogout typically occurs with symptoms that are comparable to gout but is triggered by the deposits of calcium rather than uric acid.

Limited range of motion

Since gout is a form of arthritis, if it is left untreated, it can lead to the deterioration of the joint structure. Understandably, once this occurs, it can lead to the development of deformities and diminished range of motion in the shoulder joint. The rotator cuff tophi are responsible for causing impingement of the shoulder joint as well as affecting the overall range of motion.

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