What Is Gout?

Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis in which excess uric acid turns into sharp crystals at the joints. While this usually affects the big toe, it can also affect your hands, wrists, elbows, knees, and ankles.

Historically, gout became known as the “disease of kings” because of the wealthy’s overindulgence in food and alcohol. In fact, anyone can get gout.

Learn all about gout and where to go for treatment by reading below!

What Causes Gout?

Your body naturally makes uric acid when breaking down chemicals called purines. The kidneys filter uric acid out of the blood before it’s eliminated in the urine. Yet, some people develop gout because the kidneys do not get rid of enough uric acid or the body produces too much of this.

Uric acid turns into crystals at cooler temperatures. As such, gout commonly occurs in the big toe, the coolest part of the body.

Who Is at Risk for Gout?

Gout is more likely to occur in men 40 to 60 years old, but can also occur in younger men and in women. Factors that put a person at risk include having,

  • certain medications and vitamins,
  • chemotherapy,
  • diabetes,
  • family members with gout,
  • high blood pressure,
  • obesity,
  • stress,
  • and surgery.

Consuming foods and beverages with high levels of purines can trigger a gout attack. These are:

  • alcohol,
  • organ meats, like the kidney and liver,
  • red meat,
  • shellfish,
  • and sugar, including high fructose corn syrup.

What Are the Symptoms of Gout?

Gout attacks happen suddenly and are very painful. Symptoms may include:

  • chills,
  • fever,
  • headache,
  • intense pain,
  • joint stiffness,
  • redness,
  • tenderness even to a light touch,
  • and warmth in the joint area.

How Is Gout Treated?

There are several steps you can take to treat gout.

  1. Avoid foods and beverages high in purines.
  2. Drink plenty of water.
  3. Elevate your foot to help reduce swelling.
  4. Limit stress on your joint by avoiding intense physical activities.
  5. Lose weight if needed.
  6. Take medicine as prescribed.

During a gout attack, symptoms can last for between three and ten days. Afterward, the joint starts to feel normal again.

Can Gout Be Cured?

While there is no cure for gout, you can effectively treat the condition. If you believe you have gout, consult a podiatrist. They’ll work with you to find treatments that lower your uric acid levels and manage your symptoms.

Visit The Foot & Ankle Center

When you experience continued discomfort in your feet or ankles, don’t think that it has to stay that way. The knowledgeable podiatrists at The Foot & Ankle Center have decades of experience in correcting even the most advanced conditions and injuries.

Should you have gout or other podiatric concerns, call (314) 487-9300 or contact us online to schedule your appointment!