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WEDNESDAY, June 12 (HealthDay News) -- The big toe is not the biggest culprit in gout flare-ups, contrary to popular belief, a new study reports.
Researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., found that people with the highest risk of repeated cases of gout are those whose gout first appears in other joints, such as the knee or elbow, rather than in the joints of the big toe.
Gout is a painful form of arthritis caused by uric acid buildup in the body. Continuing to take medication is essential to prevent recurrences, the researchers said.
"Because patients often think that a gout flare-up means their medications are not working, they may stop medications like allopurinol. It is especially important for these patients to continue taking gout medication to prevent flare-ups," study co-author Dr. Eric Matteson, rheumatology chair, said in a Mayo news release.
The study was scheduled for presentation at the annual meeting of the European League Against Rheumatism, June 12 to 15, in Madrid.
Researchers followed 46 gout patients for about 13 years on average. Their first gout attack occurred at an average age of 66.
Mayo researchers presented other studies at the meeting. Among those findings:
Data and conclusions presented at meetings are typically considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.
The American College of Rheumatology has more about gout.