The condition called gout is a type of arthritis which is often considered a disease that affects older individuals, but in reality, gout is very common in men between 40 and 60 years old and it can also strike both sexes at even younger ages. The inflammation of gout typically shows up in the big toe joint first, but the increased temperature, severe pain, swelling, and redness can affect other joints in the body, particularly in the hands.
What causes gouty arthritis?
Uric acid can build up in the bloodstream and while it is a normal component of blood when the excess isn’t eliminated from the body through urination, the uric acid can reach high concentrations and cause sharp crystals to form in the soft tissue around the joints. Sometimes people have a hereditary tendency to get gout, but dietary factors can play a major role.
Some of the risk factors for having a gout attack include the following:
● Certain medications and vitamins
● High blood pressure
● Complications from surgery and chemotherapy
Gout can be confused with other joint problems that have similar symptoms, so it is important to have an evaluation with your podiatrist to check for other conditions including hallux rigidus, or stiff big toe.
If gout is determined to be the cause of your joint pain, treatment including some of the following will be recommended to ease current symptoms and to avoid future attacks:
● Avoid high purine foods—like shellfish, organ meats, red wine, beer, and bacon.
● Medications—Prescription medications or injections may be used to treat pain and swelling, and allopurinol may be prescribed to prevent future attacks.
● Increase your fluid intake—Drink more fluids and avoid alcoholic beverages. Keeping hydrated is essential to limiting the length of a gout attack.
● Resting—Avoid walking and standing as much as possible and use elevation of the leg and foot to reduce swelling and pain.
The symptoms of gout usually subside within a few days or a week. If you frequently experience gout attacks, long-term medication use will be encouraged.
If you are experiencing gouty arthritis symptoms in your feet, we highly recommend that you consult our board-certified podiatrists Andrew Shapiro, DPM and Michael Barkin, DPM. With access to advanced technologies, along with years of experience to help diagnose and treat a variety of foot and ankle problems, we can assist you with heel pain, ankle sprains, diabetic foot care, toe deformities, nail fungus, and skin problems, among many other conditions. Our practice is conveniently located on West Merrick Road in Valley Stream to accommodate all of your foot care needs. Call (516) 825-3860 or book an appointment online today!