Pseudogout is characterized by inflamed, painful joints due to the formation of crystal deposits (calcium pyrophosphate) in and around the joints. Pseudogout typically occurs in older adults and can affect the ankles, wrists, and elbows, but is most common in the knee.

Pseudogout is one of the more than 100 causes of arthritis that we treat at the Center for Arthritis and Joint Diseases. Our pseudogout specialists work closely with specialists from other Brigham and Women’s Hospital services to provide comprehensive arthritis care.

What are the potential causes of pseudogout?

There are several known risk factors for developing pseudogout, including:

  • Older age
  • Joint trauma – injury or joint replacement surgery
  • Inherited disorders

What are the symptoms of pseudogout?

Pseudogout is characterized by sudden, recurrent attacks. The following are the most common pseudogout symptoms associated with these attacks:

  • Severe and sudden pain in one or more joints, often in the knee
  • Swollen joint(s)
  • Warmth in joints

How is pseudogout diagnosed?

To determine whether your pain and swelling is caused by pseudogout, our physicians may perform one or more of the following tests:

  • Complete medical history and a physical examination
  • Joint fluid analysis – examine a joint fluid sample under a microscope to look for the presence of calcium pyrophosphate crystals
  • X-rays – to look for crystal deposits in joint cartilage and/or joint damage

How do we treat pseudogout?

Our physicians work with patients to develop an individualized treatment plan. Common pseudogout treatments include:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Colchicine, an oral or intravenous medication to relieve pain and inflammation
  • Corticosteroids to reduce inflammation

Contact Us

To learn more about our pseudogout services or to make an appointment with a Brigham and Women’s Hospital rheumatologist, contact one of our trained coordinators at 1-800-294-9999 to get connected with the best doctor for your needs.


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