If you have ever had an attack of gout, you would definitely know it! Gout is a form of arthritis that flares up suddenly, often in the big toe. You will experience pain, tenderness, and swelling in the joint. The pain is so intense that even the weight of a sheet at night is unbearable.
Gout pain comes from a build-up of uric acid in your blood produced when your body breaks down purines, naturally-occurring substances in your body. Too much uric acid can result in urate crystals in the joint, resulting in the pain and inflammation of a gout attack.
Those who may be particularly at risk of gout include anyone who:
Eats a diet with a lot of meat and seafood.
Drinks alcohol, especially beer.
Drinks beverages sweetened with fructose.
Has certain medical conditions such as diabetes, untreated high blood pressure, and kidney and heart diseases.
Takes certain medications, including diuretics for hypertension and low-dose aspirin.
Has a family history of gout.
Gout Symptoms Are Hard To Miss
A gout attack causes intense, burning pain. Although most often gout hits the big toe, it can also affect other joints such as the knees, ankles, wrists, elbows, and fingers.
The attack will subside after about 12 hours, but you will have lingering discomfort for some time. The joint will be warm to the touch and swollen.
If gout is left untreated, it will recur and can limit your range of motion. To treat gout, we will prescribe medications that will prevent a re-occurrence.
How To Prevent Gout
Because gout can harm the joint and also cause chronic problems like kidney stones, it’s best to prevent another gout attack.
Purines that form uric acid are found in certain protein sources such as seafood, organ meats, and steak. Drinking alcohol, especially beer, and fructose-sweetened drinks builds up purines too.
To reduce your risk of a gout attack:
Drink lots of water and avoid sweetened beverages, especially those with fructose.
Limit alcoholic beverages.
Eat low-fat dairy products for protein and some protection against gout.
Limit meat, fish, and poultry.
Maintain a healthy weight.
Let Us Help with Any Foot Pain or Skin Problem
Foot or toe pain is not normal! If you have any discomfort from arthritis, an injury or just from overuse, please call Michele Kurlanski, DPM at Lighthouse Foot and Ankle Center. Dr. Kurlanski offers expert and professional podiatry services in Cumberland County, Maine. Please call us today at 207-774-0028 to schedule your appointment in our Scarborough office.