Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Gout can be difficult to diagnose. The symptoms are often similar to those of other conditions. If gout is suspected, tests may include:

Arthrocentesis (Joint Aspiration)—A needle is inserted into a joint and fluid is withdrawn with a syringe. This is usually performed using local anesthesia. The fluid is then checked under a microscope for uric acid crystals and signs of inflammation. In nearly all cases of gout, uric acid crystals are present.

Blood and Urine Tests —These tests assess kidney function and measure the amount of uric acid in your blood and urine. However, uric acid levels can often be normal during a gout attack.

Imaging tests to evaluate the joint and surrounding structures include:

    
  • X-ray
  • MRI scan
  • Ultrasound