Pseudogout means false gout.

It is similar to gout, but is caused by calcium crystals, not urate crystals.

Why Care About Pseudogout?

Gout sufferers without a clear diagnosis need to watch out for pseudogout. The symptoms are similar, though pseudogout tends to affect larger joints such as knees and shoulders whereas regular gout can affect any joint.

If suspected gout does not respond to uric acid treatment after one year of safe uric acid levels, then joints should be inspected for pseudogout.

Note that gout and pseudogout can co-exist.

Do You Suspect Pseudogout?

To confirm pseudogout, joints must be inspected for calcium crystals. This investigation should be carried out by a crystal arthritis specialist using joint fluid analysis. If available, the new non-invasive DECT procedure will also differentiate between gout and pseudogout.

Pseudogout Causes

Though we know that pseudogout is caused by a buildup of calcium joints, we do not know all the reasons for this buildup.

Risks increase with age. 3% of people in their 60s get it, rising to 50% in their 90s. Pseudogout affects men and women equally. In general, there may be a hereditary risk factor. Dietary calcium does not appear to affect calcium deposits.

Specific factors that can trigger pseudogout are:

  • Excessive calcium in the blood (hypercalcemia)
  • Excess iron storage (hemochromatosis)
  • low magnesium levels in blood
  • overactive parathyroid gland
  • severely underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)

Pseudogout Treatments

I have said that there are no known treatments for pseudogout, other than pain relief. The pain relief options are similar to those listed on my gout treatment pages. However, if pseudogout is caused by one of the underlying conditions I listed above, then treating that can slow down the development of pseudogout. For example, some readers have reported benefits from magnesium supplementation. One reader also pointed out that magnesium levels are very hard to determine, so it might be a case of simply trying supplements to see if they derive benefits – you should, of course, consult your doctor about this.

As with gout, it is important to consult a rheumatologist if you have, or suspect pseudogout. You can use Local Gout Rheumatologist Directory to find a gout-experienced rheumatologist near you. Also, you can ask for help find a rheumatologist with pseudogout experience.

Pseudogout Crystals
Pseudogout Crystals
(image courtesy – click for details)

Pseudogout: Next Steps

My help and advice is here to support gout sufferers, and most of this site is not relevant to pseudogout sufferers. If you have been diagnosed with pseudogout, then all the gout pain relief information is relevant, but uric acid information is not relevant.

My gout diet information may also help pseudogout sufferers to a certain extent, though any parts that relate to purines or the uric acid lowering effects of certain foods are not relevant.

If you are certain that you have pseudogout, the best action is to follow the advice of your doctor. Or seek advice from a rheumatologist who specializes in calcium crystal diseases. I do not cover this topic in depth, but I may occasionally publish information if it seems relevant or interesting to gout sufferers. You can find these articles in the pseudogout archive.

False Gout Spellings

Pseudogout is a fairly awkward word to spell correctly. The following list shows all the spelling options I am aware of. All of these mean the same thing, so whenever you see them, always refer to pseudogout.


Best alternative. False gout best describes what pseudogout really is – something that is similar to gout, but is actually something else. Occasionally hyphenated as false-gout.


Most pretentious, and fortunately rare, from the French for false. Also faux gout or faux-gout.


Pseudogout is the correct spelling of false gout. It frequently gets split (pseudo gout), or hyphenated (pseudo-gout).


Missing ‘e’. Also psudo gout or psudo-gout.


Transposed ‘e’ and ‘u’. Also psuedo gout or psuedo-gout.


Phonetic spelling. Also sudo gout or sudo-gout.

If you are aware of other alternative spellings, please share them on the gout forum.

If you believe you are more likely to have gout than pseudogout, you can find more relevant information in the gout symptoms guidelines, which also explains gout causes and diagnosis.

Leave Pseudogout to browse Gout Symptoms guidelines

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