Gout is a condition that can strike both men and women at any age, causing severe pain in affected joints.
Both noninvasive and surgical Gout treatment options exist. The podiatrists and surgeons of AFACC always work to conserve first and only suggest surgery when necessary.
To learn what Gout treatment options are best for you, find the AFACC podiatry clinic nearest you or fill out the appointment form to the left. For more information on Gout and its causes, symptoms & treatment options, read below.
What is Gout & How is it Caused?
Gout is a painful condition that results from a deposit of uric acid crystals in joints of the body. Gout more commonly affects men (often at peak ages of 40-60) than women but can occur at any age for either gender. Attacks most often occur in the foot, particularly the big toe joint.
Uric acid is a byproduct of certain types of foods that contain purines. These foods can include red meats, red wine (and other alcoholic beverages), and certain types of seafood. Some people develop gout because their body naturally overproduces uric acid. Others develop gout because their kidneys are unable to eliminate normal amounts of uric acid.
Many times gout tendencies are inherited. Other factors which may result in a gout attack, include long-term use of water pills, low dose aspirin, dehydration, or recent foot injury. While typically affecting the big toe joint, Gout can also affect the ankle, knee and other foot joints.
Gout Symptoms & Diagnosis
An acute gout attack can be marked by the following symptoms:
- Intense, severe, and sudden bursts of pain
- Painful often times beginning in the middle of the night
- Significant redness, swelling, and increased temperature across the joint and general area making it difficult to even touch the foot
If these symptoms occur, you should seek immediate medical attention. Gout can be disgnosed by your podiatric physician, who will fully examine your foot, and take your medical history.
X-rays and laboratory blood tests are often used to confirm the increase in uric acid, and to determine whether there are other sources of the inflammation.
Treatment of Gout
Once you have been diagnosed with gout, oral medications are usually prescribed. Within a few days, most of the symptoms will significantly decrease. Some experience a significant improvement within a few hours of treatment.
Should you experience frequent gout attacks, your podiatric physician may refer you to your primary care physician who can prescribe a long-term medication to control the output of uric acid. Repeated gout attacks can also cause arthritic changes to occur within the affected joints. Therefore, it is very important to seek early treatment of gout before significant damage occurs.
You may also need to change your diet to reduce the intake of shellfish, red meat, red wine, and other alcoholic beverages. Increased water consumption may be necessary as well.
In extreme cases of recurrent gout, surgery may be indicated to remove the uric acid crystals from the joint to prevent further damage. The doctors and surgeons at AFACC always look for conservative options first, and only suggest surgery when absolutely necessary.
For more information about Gout or to have your feet assessed, contact us today to schedule an appointment at the AFACC clinic nearest you.