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24th January, 20212 min read

Pseudogout

Medical reviewer:Dr Ann Nainan
Author:Dr Lauretta Ihonor
Last reviewed: 08/12/2020
Medically reviewed

All of Healthily's articles undergo medical safety checks to verify that the information is medically safe. View more details in our safety page, or read our editorial policy.

In this article

Pseudogout is a type of joint inflammation (arthritis) that can lead to sudden or ongoing joint swelling and pain. It’s caused by a build-up of a type of calcium crystal (called calcium pyrophosphate) in the joints. It’s also known as calcium pyrophosphate deposition disease, or CPPD disease.

What are the symptoms of pseudogout?

Pseudogout often affects your knees, but it can also happen in your feet, ankles, shoulders, elbows, hands and wrists.

If you have pseudogout, you may get several symptoms, including joint pain, redness, swelling and warmth.

These symptoms can go on for a few days or weeks. But in some cases, pseudogout can lead to osteoarthritis.

It’s also possible to have pseudogout, but get very mild or no symptoms.

How is pseudogout diagnosed?

If a doctor thinks you have pseudogout, they may put a needle into the affected joint and remove a small sample of fluid. This will then be sent to a lab to check for calcium pyrophosphate crystals.

You may also need an X-ray and blood tests to help diagnose the condition.

What is the treatment for pseudogout?

If only 1 or 2 of your joints are affected, pseudogout is often treated with painkillers and steroid injections into the joint.

But if you’ve got pseudogout in many joints, it’s less practical to give you injections in every joint that’s affected. Instead, a doctor may give you anti-inflammatory medicines to take. These can help reduce pain and swelling.

You may also be given a medicine called colchicine if your symptoms started no more than a day ago.

To help your recovery, you should rest the painful joint and avoid moving or putting weight on it while you have symptoms.

If you get pseudogout attacks often, a doctor may give you colchicine to take daily to prevent any more attacks.

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