If you have ever experienced gout, you may be familiar with the intense pain and discomfort that often accompanies this condition. This typically occurs in the big toe and surrounding areas, where it may become swollen. It happens as a result of elevated uric acid levels in the blood, and may come from eating foods that are high in purines. These types of food may include red meats, shellfish, or drinks that have high fructose levels. The excess purines can cause crystals to form in the blood, and may lodge in the joints of the toe. Research has shown that occurrences of gout may be linked to obesity and high blood pressure, or people who are afflicted with kidney disease may develop this form of arthritis. It may be beneficial to rest the foot or apply cold compresses while an attack happens. If you are experiencing gout, it is advised that you seek the counsel of a podiatrist who can properly treat this condition.
What is Gout?
Gout is a form of arthritis that is characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, redness, and tenderness in the joints. The condition usually affects the joint at the base of the big toe. A gout attack can occur at any random time, such as the middle of the night while you are asleep.
- Intense Joint Pain - Usually around the large joint of your big toe, and it most severe within the first four to twelve hours
- Lingering Discomfort - Joint discomfort may last from a few days to a few weeks
- Inflammation and Redness -Affected joints may become swollen, tender, warm and red
- Limited Range of Motion - May experience a decrease in joint mobility
- Genetics - If family members have gout, you’re more likely to have it
- Medications - Diuretic medications can raise uric acid levels
- Gender/Age - Gout is more common in men until the age of 60. It is believed that estrogen protects women until that point
- Diet - Eating red meat and shellfish increases your risk
- Alcohol - Having more than two alcoholic drinks per day increases your risk
- Obesity - Obese people are at a higher risk for gout
Prior to visiting your podiatrist to receive treatment for gout, there are a few things you should do beforehand. If you have gout you should write down your symptoms--including when they started and how often you experience them, important medical information you may have, and any questions you may have. Writing down these three things will help your podiatrist in assessing your specific situation so that he or she may provide the best route of treatment for you.Read more about Gout