What is Gout?
Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis caused by a build up of crystalized uric acid in the joints and can be severely painful. It may develop in the ankles, knees, wrists, fingers, and elbows, but most commonly develops in the foot – specifically at the base of the big toe. Gout also most commonly develops in men, peaking at age 75, but can occur in women at any age as well.
Causes of Gout
Uric acid build up is the primary cause of gout, but there are several common ways gout develops:
- Recent injuries may cause inflammation and uric acid build up, which may ultimately lead to gout
- Kidney function issues and disease may hinder your kidneys’ ability to eliminate the correct amount of uric acid needed to prevent gout
- Heredity may cause you to be more prone to kidney disease and issues, and may cause your body to naturally overproduce uric acid aiding in gout development
When coupled with factors like heredity and kidney function issues, certain foods may also cause the development of gout. Foods that contain high amounts of purines, a chemical compound that leads to the formation of uric acid, may increase your chance of developing gout. Some of the foods that are high in purines are:
- Red meats
- Red wine
- Oily fish
- Certain Vegetables
Some other common factors in developing gout include:
- Alcohol intake
- Obesity & weight gain
- High blood pressure
- Certain drugs & medication
Gout Symptoms & Identification
Gout has several identifiable characteristics and symptoms, including:
- Severe joint pain
- Pain that develops in the middle of the night
- Continuous discomfort, aches, soreness, and even sensitivity, in a joint
- Fever and fatigue
If you are suffering from any of these symptoms, you should schedule an appointment with one of our podiatrists as soon as possible for a full diagnosis and treatment. Our podiatrists will give you a diagnosis based off of a full foot examination, your medical history, and possibly X-rays and laboratory blood tests if needed.
Treatment & Care
There are several common treatment and care options for gout. These options will often depend upon the severity of your gout’s development.
Once you have been diagnosed with gout, oral medications are usually prescribed. Within a few days, most of the symptoms will significantly decrease. Some people experience a significant improvement within a few hours of treatment. Along with oral medications, you may be asked to change your diet to reduce your intake of foods with high purine levels to decrease your uric acid production.
If you experience frequent gout attacks, our podiatrists may refer you to your primary care physician who can prescribe a long-term medication to control your output of uric acid. Repeated gout attacks can also cause arthritic changes to occur within your affected joints. That’s why it’s very important to seek early treatment of gout before significant damage occurs.
In extreme cases of recurrent gout, surgery may be needed to remove the uric acid crystals from the joint to prevent further damage. Our podiatrists will always look for conservative options first, and only suggest surgery when absolutely necessary.
There are quite a few home remedies that are said to alleviate and reduce gout inflammation, formation, and flare ups. These remedies may not directly fight gout, but they often help support proper kidney function, reduction of inflammation, and help lower uric acid levels, which all help in preventing gout formation and impact.
Some of the food, mineral, and beverage home remedies that may be added to your diet are:
- Turmeric, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and warm water
- Cherries and tart cherry juice
- Celery & celery seeds
- Nettle tea
Before adjusting your diet you should consult a medical professional.
Some other home applications that may help in treating gout are:
- Cold or hot water applications
- Epsom salt baths
For more information about Gout, other foot problems and treatment options, or to have your feet assessed, contact us today or schedule an appointment at one of our conveniently located Middle Tennessee locations!