Gout is a type of painful arthritis that typically affects the big toe joint. Gout’s nickname is “the disease of kings” because those wealthy enough to eat rich diets would often be plagued by it. One famous sufferer was King Henry VIII of England in the 16th century.
It’s possible never to have suffered a single symptom of gout, but then experience symptoms suddenly. This is why it’s important to know what to watch for and familiarize yourself with symptoms of gout, as well as risk factors and proven treatments.
Innovative treatments for gout are among the menu of diverse services our dedicated podiatry team at South Florida Foot & Ankle Centers offers. We partner with you in your care and are here to answer your questions and address your concerns, as well as treat you.
Your body creates purines, but these substances are also found in many foods. Purines are converted to uric acid, which your kidneys usually filter and you get rid of it through urination.
Problems begin if your kidneys fail to filter the proper amount of uric acid from your system, or you might be naturally prone to producing large amounts of uric acid. Eating a diet high in purines also raises your uric acid levels.
No matter why you develop a uric acid surplus, your likelihood of developing gout increases. Gout emerges when all of this uric acid creates crystals that settle in your joints.
You should be aware of specific symptoms that point to gout. These include:
Gout pain is unique in some ways. It can be so agonizing that sufferers are unable even to tolerate a thin sock on their foot or clothing on another affected joint. Though the big toe joint is often affected, other spots where gout appears are the knees, ankles, elbows, fingers, and wrists.
Painful attacks may strike suddenly, often interrupting your sleep in the middle of the night. Gout pain tends to be most intense anywhere from 4-12 hours from the onset of an attack, but tenderness can linger for days and even weeks.
Swelling is another hallmark of gout. Your joint may have a “blown up” look, and this inflammation is one of the very visible signs of gout. If you have high amounts of crystal deposits, you may develop nodules in addition to swelling.
Another gout symptom you can see is redness in your skin where your gout attack is happening. Your joint’s fiery look is a dead giveaway that gout’s to blame.
Your gout-ridden joint actually becomes quite warm to the touch, along with the pain and swelling.
We know from our patients that gout can make life miserable, limit your mobility, and make your quality of life dismal. But there are treatments that work, as well as measures to lower the likelihood of experiencing an attack.
Don’t lose hope if these symptoms sound familiar to you, or if you worry about developing gout.
To confirm our diagnosis of gout, we take a sample of fluid in the painful joint and observe it under a microscope. If uric acid crystals are visible, we rule out other problems and can start treating you.
First, self-care can reduce your chances of experiencing gout pain.
If you live with certain chronic conditions like diabetes or high blood pressure, keeping them well-managed lowers your risk. Some medications can also fuel gout, so talk to your doctor about what you’re taking. A change may be in order.
If you live with obesity, make every effort to lose weight, because extra pounds raise your chances of getting gout. Eating a diet low in high-purine foods also helps. Avoid things like shellfish, red meat, beer, and juices with high amounts of fructose.
In addition to diet, we talk to you about maintaining your levels of vitamin C and staying well-hydrated.
It’s critical to seek treatment for gout. Left untreated, it can lead to joint damage that’s irreversible. We offer appointments in the early mornings, evenings, and on Saturdays for your convenience.
South Florida Foot & Ankle Centers has offices in West Palm Beach/Royal Palm Beach, Lake Worth, Palm Beach Gardens, and Belle Glade, Florida, so call the one that’s most convenient to you to schedule an appointment, or request one online.