Medical Minute: Gout

A red, swollen ankle that you can’t walk on means it’s time to call a doctor

How a quick and easy virtual visit with a doctor resulted in a diagnosis, a prescription for the correct medicine, and a patient back on his feet.

A 50-year-old male patient of ours recently called in, worried about his left ankle becoming very swollen, red and tender to touch during the past few days. Although he could not recall twisting or injuring his ankle in any way, and he knew he definitely did not have any bites or scratches in this region, the patient stated that it was extraordinarily painful to walk on his ankle.

“Even the sheet moving over my low lower leg and ankle when I’m trying to sleep sends me through the roof with pain!” Ouch. Well, his wife said, it was time for him to call a doctor.


One of our many seasoned providers was fielding this call. He helped the patient gain access to our UCM app and set up a video call. Immediately, our provider was able to see the patient’s swollen, red ankle and further obtained that the patient had experienced a similar type of pain with previous attacks of gout, but that the patient had not considered to be gout because it usually only occurred in his big toes. Our provider explained how gout affects various joints, not just toes.

During the call, our provider and patient discussed, and agreed on, the pros and cons of using Colchicine versus Indomethacin medications.

Our provider also cautioned of the remote chance of an infection in the ankle, and stressed the patient’s need for a follow-up with his orthopedic specialist within the following two days. And, the next morning, our provider (with the patient’s permission) even called the orthopedic specialist and shared images of the patient’s ankle; together, they agreed on a plan to initiate gout treatment.


Two days later, our provider called the patient back to check in. Thankfully, the patient reported drastic improvement in the status of his ankle, which the orthopedic specialist confirmed how well the patient was healing on follow up.


Swollen, red, hot joints are not only scary for patients, but are also very concerning to medical providers. A septic or infected joint needs intravenous antibiotics, and sometimes even surgical cleansing. Even something as serious as this can be screened, and have treatment initiated, through UCM Now.