Simon has had four attacks of gout. He was prescribed various medications, but experienced side effects from taking indometacin. He found naproxen to be most effective in treating an attack. Simon believes his attacks were triggered by certain foods.

Simon’s first attack of gout was in 2008, when he was 50. He woke up in the night with a very painful big toe, and realised straightaway that it was gout. He recognised the symptoms because of his professional knowledge and health background, and also because his father had been diagnosed with gout. The attack lasted for about 24 hours, and Simon took paracetamol to relieve the pain. He was not particularly concerned about having an attack of gout because he thought that it was just a one-off occurrence.

Simon’s next attack of gout happened about a year later, again in his big toe, and lasted for 48 hours. However, he then experienced a third attack in 2010 which did not resolve itself as his previous attacks had done, so Simon visited his GP who officially diagnosed him with gout.

Simon’s GP initially prescribed voltarol, followed by colchicine neither of which Simon felt had any effect. He was then prescribed indometacin which did improve his symptoms to some extent, but Simon experienced side effects including high blood pressure, and tingling and loss of sensation in his feet. Simon was concerned by these additional symptoms. Eventually he felt that the relief he was getting from the indometacin was not worth the side effects he was experiencing so he decided to stop taking the tablets. The tingling and loss of sensation stopped, and his blood pressure returned to normal. After a period of time, the attack of gout Simon was experiencing also finished. In total, the attack lasted for about six months.

In January 2013, Simon experienced a fourth attack of gout. He did not go to his GP straight away because the treatments he had been prescribed for his last attack had made him so unwell and were not effective in stopping the attack. However, after about a month, the symptoms got so bad that he did go to see a GP. He was prescribed naproxen, which he found to be very effective, and reduced the symptoms quickly.

During Simon’s attacks of gout the pain was excruciating, and he would be watching the clock to see when he could have his next dose of painkillers. It was the worst pain that Simon has ever had. Although Simon’s attacks were in his feet, during his third attack he also felt that he could feel symptoms of gout, though not pain, in his thumbs and elbows. He struggled to walk or to drive, although he did try driving an automatic car which was easier. The attacks also affected Simon’s leisure activities such as playing sports.

Simon was not given much information by the GPs he saw, but he accessed information himself on the internet. He found that some of the information was contradictory, but that the NHS Choices website was particularly helpful.

Simon found that being at work helped to take his mind off the pain, and he uses himself as an example case when teaching students about long-term conditions. At one point he bought shoes that were three sizes too big so that he could get a shoe on his foot. He also found crutches were useful in reducing the weight he put on his toes when he walked.

Following the attacks of gout, Simon now has osteoarthritis in both of his big toes. He has to wear special insoles in his shoes, and he can no longer play football because it hurts to kick a ball. He still plays badminton, but he has had to reduce the amount of time he plays for, and often has to take painkillers afterwards.

Simon’s GP mentioned the possibility of long-term medication, but because of the side effects Simon experienced with the other medication, he decided not to start taking another medication. Simon avoids certain foods that he believes have caused him to have attacks. He also tries to drink plenty of water.

Looking back, Simon believes that it would have been useful for him to ask for a referral to a specialist who had more knowledge about treating gout. He has also only had his uric acid levels checked once, and believes that it would be useful for GPs to actively monitor people with gout.

Simon feels positive about the future, and believes that if he continues to monitor his diet, he will not get another attack of gout.

Simon uses his own experiences when teaching his students about long-term conditions.

Gender Male

Simon’s appointments were with different GPs each time. He felt that they had a poor understanding of gout.

Gender Male

Simon thinks doctors don’t always monitor uric acid levels. He has had his measured once.

Gender Male

Simon tried several drugs that did not improve his symptoms. Indomethacin helped, but his blood pressure became high so he stopped taking it.

Gender Male

Simon felt a bit like he had mild flu during his attacks. He could also feel that gout was affecting other joints even though they were not painful.

Gender Male

Simon went to work with no socks on. He bought shoes that were three sizes too big because his swollen foot wouldn’t fit into his usual pair.

Gender Male

Simon found crutches helpful for walking because they took the weight off his toes.

Gender Male