Characteristics of the first metatarsophalangeal joint in gout and asymptomatic hyperuricaemia: a cross-sectional observational study
Background This study aimed to identify patient-reported outcomes and clinician-assessed characteristics of the first metatarsophalangeal joint (1MTPJ) in people with gout and with asymptomatic hyperuricaemia by comparing them to normouricaemic controls.
Methods Twenty four people with gout (without current symptoms of acute arthritis), 29 with asymptomatic hyperuricaemia and 34 age- and sex-matched controls participated in this cross-sectional observational study. Patient-reported outcomes included 1MTPJ pain, foot pain and disability, body pain, lower limb function, activity limitation and overall wellbeing. Clinician-assessed characteristics of the 1MTPJ included range of motion (ROM), plantar- and dorsi-flexion force, foot posture, temperature and hallux valgus severity.
Results Compared to controls, participants with gout reported greater 1MTPJ pain (p = 0.014), greater foot pain and disability (p < 0.001), increased odds of having disabling foot pain (odds ratio (OR) 13.4, p < 0.001), decreased lower limb function for daily living (p = 0.002) and recreational (p < 0.001) activities, increased activity limitation (p = 0.002), reduced overall wellbeing (p = 0.034), reduced ROM (p < 0.001), reduced plantarflexion force (p = 0.012), increased 1MTPJ plantar (p = 0.004), dorsal (p = 0.003) and medial (p = 0.004) temperature and had increased odds of having more severe hallux valgus (OR 0.3 p = 0.041). Compared to controls, participants with asymptomatic hyperuricaemia had increased odds of having disabling foot pain (OR 4.2, p = 0.013), increased activity limitation (p = 0.033), decreased lower limb function for daily living (p = 0.026) and recreational (p = 0.010) activities, increased 1MTPJ plantarflexion force (p = 0.004) and a more pronated foot type (p = 0.036).
Conclusions People with gout demonstrate 1MTPJ-specific changes indicative of subclinical inflammation, even in the absence of acute arthritis. People with asymptomatic hyperuricaemia, who exhibit no features or symptoms of gout, also report high levels of foot- and lower limb-related pain and disability.