Symptoms of gout in the hands include intense and sudden joint pain for 12 to 24 hours, according to Mayo Clinic. The joints of the hands can become swollen, red and tender. Once the initial pain subsides, a lingering discomfort can occur in the hands for several days to several weeks. After the initial occurrence, subsequent outbreaks tend to affect more joints and last longer.
Untreated gout can lead to worsening pain and joint damage, making it important to treat it when it first occurs, according to Mayo Clinic. Gout occurs due to an accumulation of urate crystals in a joint. Caused by high levels of uric acid in the blood, the risk of developing gout is higher in people who drink alcohol excessively and those who have untreated medical conditions such as hypertension, diabetes or arteriosclerosis. Men have a higher risk of developing gout, as do people with a family history of gout.
Untreated gout can lead to recurrent or advanced stages of the disease, as well as kidney stones, according to Mayo Clinic. If a fever or swelling occurs along with joint pain in the hands, it is important to contact a doctor immediately, as this can be a sign of infection.