People who experience gout attacks often find completing daily tasks difficult to do. This is a result of the severe pain and discomfort gout can cause, and many people often seek prompt medical attention. It can occur from genetic reasons, or from eating foods that have high levels of purines like red meat, shellfish, and alcoholic drinks. Purines cause excess uric acid to lodge between the joints in the big toe which can be likened to a sensation of crystals that is felt in the toes. This feeling can produce severe pain and discomfort, and daily activities are often ceased until it subsides. Gout may target specific groups of people, including men over 40 years old, overweight people, or possibly those having kidney disease. Effective prevention techniques can consist of reducing the amount of alcohol that is consumed, drinking plenty of water, and generally eating healthy foods. If you have frequent gout attacks, it is strongly urged that you are under the care of a podiatrist who can determine what the reason is, and offer you the correct treatment options.
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 one of our offices located in Merrillville, Portage, Michigan City/LaPorte, and Schererville, IN . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.