Gout is a severe form of arthritis that can cause sudden attacks of heat, redness, and extreme tenderness, most commonly in the joint at the base of the big toe. The condition begins with a high build-up for uric acid in the bloodstream, which can form sharp needle-like crystal deposits near a joint. A sudden gout attack is characterized by pain, inflammation, and swelling that some people describe as feeling as though their toe is on fire.
You are also more likely to suffer from gout if you:
- Have a family history of gout
- Are male
- Are overweight
- Consume large amounts of alcohol
- Consume a lot of foods that are high in purines—a naturally occurring compound found in, among other foods, organ meats, bacon, sardines, and beer
- Suffer from an enzyme defect where your body has trouble breaking down purines
- Have been exposed to lead in the environment
- Have undergone an organ transplant
- Are taking certain medicines such as diuretics, aspirin, cyclosporine, or levodopa
- Take the vitamin niacin
Prevention & Treatment:
A restricted diet low in purines is one of the best ways to prevent a gout flare up. By drinking plenty of fluids, avoiding alcohol, maintaining a healthy weight, and limiting your intake of meat, poultry, and fish, can you limit the amount of uric acid in your body.
If you are suffering from a gout attack, medications like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and drugs that block and/or remove uric acid from your system, are often prescribed to treat and prevent future attacks.
When to Seek Care:
If you are showing the signs and symptoms of a gout attack, it’s important that you contact your podiatrist for an evaluation. Click here to request your appointment.