What Is Gout?
Accumulation of uric acid in the joint fluid (hyperuricemia) and your body results in a complex form of arthritis known as gout. The big toe joint of the foot is most often affected with a sudden onset of extreme pain, accompanied by redness and tenderness. An attack of gout during the night can literally wake you up due to the intense pain and swelling. Gout can affect the instep, foot and ankle, making wearing shoes painful.
Your body produces uric acid to break down proteins in our diet known as purines. Uric acid is eliminated through the kidneys. Some people have difficulty eliminating the uric acid or their bodies produce too much uric acid. This results in sharp urate crystals forming in the joint causing pain, inflammation and swelling.
GOUT CAN BE HEREDITARY AND MOST OFTEN OCCURS IN MEN BETWEEN 30-50 YEARS OF AGE AND POSTMENOPAUSAL WOMEN.
Gout and gout attacks can be caused by:
- Eating a lot of meat and seafood
- Drinking beverages sweetened with fructose
- Consuming red wine and beer
- Medical conditions such as diabetes, unregulated high blood pressure, heart and kidney disease, and metabolic syndromes
- Certain medications
- Recent trauma or surgery
If you suffer from gout attacks, schedule an appointment with Ryan Foot and Ankle Clinic.
How Is Gout Treated?
Your podiatrist will talk to you about your personal and family medical history, symptoms and frequency of attacks. Blood tests determine uric acid levels and the joint fluid is tested for urate crystals. They may take X Rays to examine the affected bones and joints. Your doctor may also review your prescription medications to identify drugs that may trigger an attack. It is important to determine what causes your gout (excess uric acid production vs elimination issues). Gout can often be controlled with medication, once there is a correct diagnosis.
Symptoms of an acute gout attack may be reduced by staying off the foot, elevating the foot above the level of your heart, and anti-inflammatories as recommended by your doctor.
YOU CAN HELP REDUCE THE CHANCE OF AN ATTACK BY WATCHING WHAT YOU EAT AND DRINK. AVOID FOOD AND BEVERAGES THAT TEND TO TRIGGER YOUR ATTACKS AND INCREASE YOUR WATER INTAKE.
What To Expect If Surgery Is Recommended?
Your foot and ankle surgeon may recommend surgery in cases of joints with excessive crystal deposits or damage to the joint from arthritis. Surgical intervention may also be need if medication alone does not control gout attacks.
If you are suffering from symptoms of gout, give us a call at one of our 5 local podiatry offices in Charlotte, Concord and Harrisburg today for more information or to schedule an appointment.