Gout is a painful form of inflammatory arthritis which affects the joints. Although it can impact the joints of your wrists, fingers, and elbows, it is the joints at the base of the big toe and the ankles which are mainly affected.
Gout attacks happen suddenly, and in most
cases, the affected joint is tender, red, and swollen, and can be extremely
If left untreated, a person can suffer
from repeated attacks of gout. Men and obese adults over the age of thirty are
at a greater risk of developing gout.
Gout flare-ups can happen suddenly, and in
most cases, the attacks occur at night. However, there are certain early warning
signs of a potential gout attack. Common symptoms of gout include:
pain at the affected joint.
redness, or purplish discoloration of the skin.
at the joint.
sensation of warmth.
movement in the affected joint.
In severe cases, gout can even lead to a
Gout is caused when there is a build-up of
uric acid crystals in the joints. Uric acid is a waste product routinely
disposed of by the body through urine.
In some patients, however, the body starts
producing uric acid faster than the rate at which it is disposed. When this
happens, uric acid crystals are deposited in the joints.
and Other Factors Causing Gout
Gout can run in the family although the
exact genetic link is not known. A person suffering from kidney disease can
develop gout. In some patients, common medications such as aspirin can
interfere with the normal process of disposing uric acid from the body, leading
to a build-up.
On top of this, there are certain other
medical and non-medical factors which can lead to gout. These include:
consumption of alcohol (one of the organs which is affected by excessive
alcohol consumption is the kidneys which produce urine – uric acid is disposed
from the body through urine).
foods that are rich in purine (a substance naturally produced by the
body which when broken down convert to uric acid).
is gout treated?
Although gout is a very painful condition,
the good news is that it is easily treated. The treatment process for gout
involves reducing the uric acid levels in the body, reducing pain and
inflammation and the other associated symptoms of gout, and preventing further
doctor will prescribe a medication that is used to decrease inflammation
(typically a prescription grade medication like colchicine or indomethacin).
These must be monitored and usually doctors will order laboratory tests.
increasing clear fluid intake and urine output is an important part of
clearing out an acute attack of gout.
the inflammation is severe, the doctor might recommend corticosteroid
injections for the affected joint.
patient will also be advised to stay off their feet and use cold compresses to
help reduce swelling.
severe cases, surgery might be recommended to remove the deposit of uric acid
crystals from the affected joint.
Gout vs. Chronic Gout
Acute gout is
different than usually chronic gout. Acute gout attacks are handled using the
treatments listed above. However, for those who have a more chronic issues with
gout, long term management may be necessary. Chronic sufferers will often need
medication that can help prevent the frequent attacks.
Changes Can Help Control Gout Attacks
In addition to medication, making certain
dietary changes, which include either completely avoiding or at the very least
limiting the consumption of specific foods, can also help in controlling gout
flare-ups. Dietary restrictions for preventing gout include:
or limiting consumption of alcoholic beverages and foods that are protein-rich
or high in purines like beans, peas, organ meats, and red meats. These aid in
uric acid build-up.
suffering from gout are advised to drink plenty of fluids, especially water, to
help flush out uric acid from the body.
Smart to Ignore
If you notice any of the above-mentioned
symptoms of gout, consult with a foot and ankle specialist to seek an accurate
diagnosis and proper treatment as soon as possible. As mentioned above, if gout
is left untreated, it can lead to repeated flare-ups.
Ignoring gout can also
result in a long-term, painful arthritis called gouty arthritis. Gouty
arthritis destroys the normal joint surfaces and erodes the cartilage and bone
within the joint and cannot be cured. Additionally, gout can be deposited in
the soft tissues especially near tendons. This can lead to tendon damage.
with Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle
Are you suffering from gout? Are you looking for relief from pain and effective treatment for preventing gout? We at Rocky Mountain Foot & Ankle can help you. Connect with us here or give us a call today to set up an appointment! We want to hear from you!