Form of arthritis characterized by a painful, sudden attack of a hot, very swollen, red joint, caused by calcium crystals in the joint. Severe attacks of pseudogout often occur in the knees and can incapacitate someone for days or weeks. The wrists, shoulders, ankles, elbows, or hands may also be affected. Clinically, the presentation may mimic gout, though the joint crystals found in gout are different (uric acid). Treatment involves nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or steroid injection into the affected joint. To prevent further attacks, low doses of colchicine (available only as a generic) or NSAIDs may be effective. Unfortunately, no treatment is available to dissolve the crystal deposits. If severe joint degeneration occurs over time, surgery to repair and replace damaged joints is an option.
A form of arthritis caused by crystals of calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate (CPPD) in one or more joints. Pseudogout is distinguished from true gout by the difference in the composition of the crystals. Pseudogout usually involves large joints such as the knees, wrist, and ankles, while gout (which results from uric acid crystals) typically involves the first joint of the big toe. In pseudogout, the CPPD crystals in the joint cause severe inflammation and produce symptoms such as pain, swelling, and localized redness.