If you’re familiar with gout, you know that it’s an intensely painful arthritic disorder that affects the toes. Sometimes, this pain can occur suddenly and without warning. If you’ve felt this, then you probably have experienced what’s known as a gout attack.
What is Gout?
Before we can discuss what gout attacks are, let’s first look at the condition itself. Gout is a disorder that results from the buildup of uric acid crystals in the joints, tendons, or tissues. The result is painful, sore, and aching feet.
What is a Gout Attack?
Those who suffer from this arthritic disorder may be unexpectedly hit with intense pain that comes out of nowhere. Patients will also normally experience redness and swelling in the affected area. Often, gout sufferers will explain that their feet or toes are painful to the touch – even laying a bed sheet over the area hurts. These attacks happen most commonly during the night.
What Happens During a Gout Attack?
If you experience a gout attack, then you have uric acid to blame. When too much of this acid is present in the cool blood near your lower extremities, it can cause a negative reaction in your body. As soon as the uric acid enters the toe joints, it will trigger your body’s immune response to get rid of the foreign body. Unfortunately, patients will experience the painful symptoms this response elicits.
What’s the Deal with Uric Acid?
Now that we’ve identified the culprit, let’s discuss uric acid. Your body produces this compound to break down a substance called purine. Purine can be found not only in your body but also in certain foods and drinks you may eat, including red meats, beers and other alcoholic beverages, and salt. Typically, uric acid will dissolve in your blood, and your kidneys will filter it through your urine. However, if you produce too much uric acid, it can build up, which may cause urate crystals to form, triggering gout or gout attacks.
How Can You Treat a Gout Attack?
After a proper diagnosis, your podiatrist will prescribe anti-inflammatory medications to tackle the pain and reduce swelling. If you experience the attack in your toes, we will more than likely recommend elevating your feet, limiting walking, and wearing only loose slippers. Your symptoms should fade within 3 to 10 days. If they persist or if you have repeated attacks, however, contact us!
How Can You Prevent Gout Attacks?
A few dietary changes may be in order here. Drinking plenty of water and eating a healthy, balanced diet can help stave off gout attacks. Additionally, limit or avoid purine-rich food like red meat, organ meats, red wine, beer, and alcohol. If you have a family history of gout, it would be wise to visit your podiatrist regularly to reduce the possibility of experiencing these attacks. Gout is certainly a painful disorder, but it doesn’t have to stay that way for you. Tackle gout head-on by calling the knowledgeable doctors at The Foot & Ankle Center at (314) 487-9300!