What Is Pseudogout?

Pseudogout is a type of arthritis that causes spontaneous, unpleasant swelling in your joints. It occurs when crystals form in the synovial fluid, the fluid that lubricates the joints. This causes inflammation and pain.

This condition frequently impacts the knees, but it can affect other joints as well. It’s more common in adults over the age of 60.

Pseudogout is also known as calcium pyrophosphate deposition (CPPD) disease.

Pseudogout vs. Gout

Pseudogout and gout are both types of arthritis, and they’re both caused by the build-up of crystals in the joints.

While calcium pyrophosphate crystals cause pseudogout, gout is caused by urate (uric acid) crystals.

What Causes Pseudogout?

Pseudogout takes place when calcium pyrophosphate crystals form in the synovial fluid in the joints. Crystals can likewise deposit in the cartilage, where they can cause damage. A buildup of crystal in the joint fluid leads to swollen joints and acute pain.

Scientists don’t understand why the crystals form. The chance of them forming most likely increases with age. Crystals form in about half of individuals over the age of 85, according to the Arthritis Foundation. However, a number of them do not have pseudogout.

Pseudogout can often run in families, a lot of doctors believe it to be a hereditary condition. Other contributing aspects might include:

  • hypothyroidism, or an underactive thyroid
  • hyperparathyroidism, or an overactive parathyroid gland
  • excess iron in the blood
  • hypercalcemia, or too much calcium in the blood
  • magnesium deficiency

What Are the Symptoms of Pseudogout?

Pseudogout usually impacts the knees, but it likewise affects the ankles, wrists, and elbows.

General symptoms may consist of:

  • bouts of joint pain
  • swelling of the affected joint
  • fluid buildup around the joint
  • chronic inflammation

How Is Pseudogout Diagnosed?

If your medical professional thinks you have pseudogout, they may advise the following tests:

  • an analysis of joint fluid by removing the fluid from the joint (arthrocentesis) to search for calcium pyrophosphate crystals
  • X-rays of the joints to look for any damage to the joint, calcification (calcium buildup) of the cartilage, and deposits of calcium in the joint cavities
  • MRI or CT scans to look for areas of calcium buildup
  • ultrasound likewise to search for areas of calcium buildup

Taking a look at the crystals found in the joint cavities helps your doctor make a medical diagnosis.

This condition shares symptoms with other conditions, so it might often be misdiagnosed as:

  • osteoarthritis (OA), a degenerative joint disease brought on by a loss of cartilage
  • rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a long-lasting inflammatory disorder that might impact some organs and tissues
  • gout, which triggers unpleasant inflammation of the toes and feet commonly but can impact other joints

What Be Medical Conditions May Associated With Pseudogout?

Pseudogout can often be associated with other health problems, such as:

  • the thyroid disorders hypothyroidism and hyperparathyroidism
  • hemophilia, a hereditary bleeding disorder that prevents the blood from thickening typically
  • ochronosis, a condition that triggers a dark pigment to deposit in the cartilage and other connective tissues
  • amyloidosis, a buildup of an irregular protein in the tissues
  • hemochromatosis, an unusually high level of iron in the blood

How Is Pseudogout Treated?

There’s currently no treatment available to get rid of the crystal deposits.

Draining the fluid

Your physician might drain pipes the synovial fluid from the joint to relieve the pressure within the joint and minimize inflammation.


To assist with severe attacks, your physician may prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce the swelling and ease the pain.

You may not be able to take NSAIDs if:

  • You’re taking blood-thinning medication, such as warfarin (Coumadin).
  • You have bad kidney function.
  • You have a history of stomach ulcers.

To help reduce the threat of additional flare-ups, your physician might prescribe low dosages of colchicine (Colcrys) or NSAIDs.

Other medications utilized to deal with pseudogout include:

  • Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil, Quineprox).
  • Methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall).


If your joints are wearing, your doctor might suggest surgery to repair or change them.

What Complications Are Associated With Pseudogout?

In some cases, the crystal deposits in the synovial fluid can lead to permanent joint damage. Joints that have been impacted by pseudogout can ultimately establish cysts or bone spurs, which are growths that protrude on the bones.

Pseudogout might also lead to loss of cartilage.

What Is the Long-term Outlook for People With Pseudogout?

The symptoms of pseudogout can last anywhere from a few days to many weeks. Most people can manage the symptoms extremely well with treatment.

Complimentary home remedies such as cold therapy might bring extra relief.

Can I Prevent Pseudogout?

While you can’t avoid the disease, you can find treatments to reduce the inflammation and alleviate the pain. Dealing with the underlying condition that triggers pseudogout might slow its advancement and lessen the intensity of symptoms.

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