Synergy Health Partners



Pseudogout, also known as calcium pyrophosphate dihydrate (CPPD) crystal deposition disease, is a type of arthritis caused by the accumulation of calcium pyrophosphate crystals in the joints. These crystals can cause sudden, painful swelling in one or more joints, similar to gout, but the crystals involved are different. Pseudogout commonly affects the knees, wrists, and other large joints.


The exact cause of pseudogout is not well understood, but several factors can contribute to the development of the condition, including:

  • Age: The risk of pseudogout increases with age, typically affecting people over 60.
  • Joint Trauma: Injury to a joint can increase the risk of crystal formation.
  • Genetic Factors: A family history of pseudogout can increase susceptibility.
  • Medical Conditions: Conditions such as hyperparathyroidism, hemochromatosis, hypothyroidism, and gout can increase the risk of developing pseudogout.


Symptoms of pseudogout can vary in severity and may include:

  • Sudden Joint Pain: Acute onset of pain in one or more joints, often the knee.
  • Swelling: Noticeable swelling and warmth in the affected joint.
  • Redness: The skin over the affected joint may appear red or discolored.
  • Stiffness: Reduced range of motion in the affected joint.
  • Chronic Joint Pain: Persistent joint pain and discomfort in chronic cases.


Diagnosis of pseudogout involves a combination of clinical evaluation and diagnostic tests:

  • Medical History and Physical Examination: Assessment of symptoms, medical history, and physical examination of the affected joint.
  • Joint Aspiration and Analysis: Removal of synovial fluid from the affected joint with a needle. The fluid is examined under a microscope to detect the presence of calcium pyrophosphate crystals.
  • Imaging Studies: X-rays, ultrasound, or CT scans can help identify crystal deposits in the joints and rule out other conditions.


Treatment for pseudogout focuses on relieving symptoms and managing the underlying causes. Options include:

  • Medications:
    • Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs): Medications like ibuprofen or naproxen to reduce pain and inflammation.
    • Colchicine: An anti-inflammatory drug that can help reduce crystal-induced inflammation.
    • Corticosteroids: Oral or injectable steroids to control severe inflammation.
  • Joint Aspiration: Removing excess fluid from the affected joint to relieve pressure and pain.
  • Ice Therapy: Applying ice packs to the affected joint to reduce swelling and pain.

For chronic or recurrent pseudogout, long-term management strategies may include:

  • Lifestyle Modifications: Maintaining a healthy weight, regular exercise, and avoiding joint stress.
  • Treatment of Underlying Conditions: Managing associated medical conditions such as hyperparathyroidism or hemochromatosis.


The prognosis for pseudogout varies. Acute attacks can be effectively managed with treatment, providing relief within days to weeks. Chronic pseudogout may require ongoing management to control symptoms and prevent joint damage. Early diagnosis and treatment can improve the quality of life for individuals with this condition.


While there is no specific way to prevent pseudogout, managing risk factors and underlying health conditions can reduce the likelihood of developing the condition:

  • Maintain Joint Health: Avoid joint injuries and engage in low-impact exercises to strengthen and protect joints.
  • Manage Medical Conditions: Effectively manage conditions like hyperparathyroidism, hemochromatosis, and hypothyroidism.
  • Stay Hydrated: Adequate hydration can help maintain joint health and possibly reduce the risk of crystal formation.