There are several different types of arthritis that can affect the feet, including gout. This painful condition is brought on by an overabundance of uric acid in the body. Uric acid is a byproduct of the body’s process of breaking down purines (an organic compound within the body and in certain foods). When a person’s body cannot flush excess uric acid sufficiently, it may form hardened crystals on joints, most commonly on the joint at the base of the big toe. These crystals can cause sudden and intense bouts of pain, swelling, tenderness, and redness in the joint area. Gout is often an inherited disease that can be brought on by obesity, high blood pressure, kidney dysfunction, and certain drugs. Some also believe certain foods high in purine—such as red meat, seafood, sweetened beverages and alcohol—can also contribute to the onset of gout. A podiatrist may treat gout with anti-inflammatory medicine, steroid injections, and even surgery to remove the uric acid crystals formed on the joint, in advanced cases.
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.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Havre de Grace, MD . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.Read more about Gout