Elevated uric acid levels in the bloodstream may lead to a painful condition that is known as gout. It typically affects the joints in the big toe, and symptoms generally consist of swelling, redness, and severe pain and discomfort. It can occur as a result of crystals that form and lodge in the joints, which is caused by eating foods that have high purine levels. These foods can include red meat, shellfish, and excess amounts of alcohol. After a proper diagnosis is performed, which can consist of extracting fluid from the affected joint that contains the crystals, proper treatment can begin. This can include taking medication which can lower uric acid levels. There are methods that can be implemented which may prevent gout attacks from occurring. It is beneficial to incorporate healthy eating habits into your daily routine, and limiting the amount of alcohol that is consumed. If you have frequent gout attacks, it is suggested that you consult with a podiatrist who can 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.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Dallas, TX. We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.