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Understanding the Difference between Gout and Pseudo-gout

May 15, 2013 by Mayank.

Have you ever wondered why are you having red, swollen joints in your body which are causing you great pain? You may think, it is Gout, but many a times it might not be true, and it may rather turn out to be pseudo-Gout. Because many symptoms are same for both the conditions, many a times one is mistaken for the other. However, it is essential to diagnose the condition accurately so as to get proper, respective treatment for the same.

Over the period of time, calcium pyrophosphate dehydrate (CPPD) crystals gets deposited in your body joints, that gives rise to the condition of pseudo-Gout. The high volume of uric acid in the body supports the rise of these crystals in the joints. These pseudo-Gout characteristics differ from the normal Gout in terms of the crystal formations. Pseudo-Gout is also often referred as pyrophosphate arthropathy. Finding out the distinction between the Gout and the pseudo-Gout is important to begin the treatment accordingly.

The key differences between the Gout and the pseudo-Gout can be summed up under the following headings:


Pseudo-Gout majorly affects the larger joints in the body such as the knee, elbow, hip, shoulders and wrists. Gout, on the other hand, usually affects the smaller joints in the body like the toes.


In case of pseudo-Gout, the radio waves clearly show the calcification in the cartilage of the joints in the body. Chondrocalcinosis is the scientific term used for the calcification of the joint cartilage. On the other hand, there is no calcification in case of regular Gout.


The calcium pyrophosphate dehydrate crystals, observed in case of the joints affected by the pseudo-Gout, are rhomboid is shape. The liquid floating in the joints is observed with the help of a microscope to come to this conclusion. Whereas the monosodium urate, found in case of the joints affected by Gout, are usually needle shaped or of the shape of a spindle.

Also, positive birefringence of crystals under polarized light are observed when the pseudo-Gout affected joints are observed under the microscope. On the other hand, the Gout crystals display negative birefringence of crystal when observed under the polarized light. Regular drugs like indomethacin and Ibuprofen are the common drugs which are used to reduce the pain suffered by the gout and pseudo gout patients. Another drug used in case of Gout is Colchicine. Colchicine helps to reduce the pain causing agents in the blood cells. In case you are affected by Pseudo-Gout and your bigger joints are affected by it, you can intake high dosage of Colchicine to alleviate pain.


While drugs like allopurinol, sulfinpyrazone and probenicid work well in case of regular Gout, these drugs are ineffective when it comes to pseudo-Gout. These drugs help in suppressing CPPD crystals in the joints and form urate crystals instead.

Making a distinction between Gout and Pseudo-Gout is quite a difficult task. It becomes all the more critical considering the fact that there are separate treatments for Gout and Pseudo-Gout. The differences mentioned above in the article are sure to help you out while you are trying to distinguish between Gout and Pseudo-Gout. Another point to be kept in mind is that both these conditions can still be mixed up with inflammatory arthritis and other similar diseases.

Filed under: Gout and Pseudogout.

Tags: gout and pseudo-gout, affected by gout, gout crystals, gout drugs, colchicine, dosage of colchicine, gout treatment.

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