If your feet are sore after a big meal, it’s time to see a doctor.
Thanksgiving marks the start of the holiday season. Along with the cooler weather and festive atmosphere comes another holiday tradition: food – and lots of it!
We’ve all felt the effects of a big holiday meal. When our body has to process a large amount of food, we’re likely to suffer from sleepiness, indigestion, and a little discomfort. However, if you’re suddenly feeling pain in your feet or other joints after your Thanksgiving dinner, it could be the sign of something more serious than simple overindulgence.
Sudden Foot Pain? Learn About Gout
Gout pain most often occurs around the joint of the big toe, but can affect other joints like ankles or elbows as well. Gout pain comes on suddenly in a flare-up, and can be very intense, accompanied by noticeable swelling and redness. After an attack of gout, the worst pain subsides after a few days—but you may continue to feel stiffness and discomfort in the joint for several weeks.
So how does food fit in? Gout is actually a form of arthritis, caused by uric acid crystals that build up in joints. These crystals form due to high levels of uric acid in the blood, a condition called hyperuricemia. Our bodies produce uric acid naturally, but we produce an excess amount after eating foods high in purine—which include red meats, bacon, turkey, organ meats (like liver), and certain kinds of seafood. Alcoholic beverages also result in high uric acid levels.
This is why gout sufferers often wake up with sudden foot pain in the middle of the night, after a heavy meal.
Food and alcohol are not the only causes of gout. Diabetes, obesity, kidney disease, and hypothyroidism, as well as certain medications, can result in the high uric acid levels that may lead to gout.
Thankfully, there are effective ways to treat and manage painful gout flare-ups. If you’re suffering from gout, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as you can. Without treatment, you risk long-term damage to your joints. Over time, flare ups become more painful, last longer, and spread to other joints.
Read more about symptoms and treatments for gout.
Healthy Food, Healthy Feet
Gout is not the only cause of foot pain that can be triggered by a bad diet. Over time, poor nutrition can lead to obesity and conditions like atherosclerosis, heart disease, and diabetes—all of which affect the health of our feet.
Even if you’re otherwise healthy, increased body weight creates more stress on your joints, especially in the ankles and feet. Avoid too many holiday treats, and stick to moderate portions at your next Thanksgiving feast—your feet will thank you!
If you’re experiencing foot pain, make an appointment with a podiatrist as soon as you can. They’re specialists in treating every kind of foot trouble, and will have you back on your feet ready to enjoy the holidays!