Gout was a health condition reserved for the wealthy centuries ago — in fact, King Henry VIII was a sufferer. Gout is a type of arthritis that causes intense pain flares and other symptoms, often in the big toe joint, and is linked to diets that are heavy in rich food and drink.
Gout didn’t disappear, though. Today, it plagues 9 million people from all walks of life, not just royalty!
The accomplished and caring provider team at South Florida Foot & Ankle Centers employs innovative and effective treatments if you suffer from gout, and they treat many foot conditions as well, from bunions to foot problems associated with diabetes.
Suffice to say, your feet are in excellent hands at South Florida Foot & Ankle Centers.
Gout emerges in your toe joint (it can happen in other joints as well, like ankles and knees) because of a surplus of uric acid in your blood that makes crystals form around your joint. Uric acid is produced when your body breaks down purine, a chemical that’s present in food, but your body also produces it.
Your body might produce a lot of uric acid naturally, or you might be eating foods that are high in purines, which stimulates uric acid production. Typically, your kidneys filter uric acid and your body gets rid of it through urination.
Sometimes, however, your kidneys don’t do a great job of filtering uric acid, so it accumulates.
Whatever the combination of reasons that allow uric acid levels to build, when crystals start forming in your joints, the results can be pain, inflammation, redness, and even a warm feeling on the skin around your joint. You may be able to see nodules when sizable uric acid deposits settle in your joint.
Extreme sensitivity is also a symptom, and it can be so intense that even having something as light as a bed sheet touch your big toe joint causes agonizing pain.
One of the worst parts about gout is that you never know when a flare is going to happen, and these intensely painful episodes can last from hours to days; there’s just no telling.
For gout sufferers, this is no way to live.
The good news is that diet is something you have the power to change in lowering your uric acid levels. This then relieves your gout symptoms and reduces or eliminates painful flares. The point is to seek out low-purine foods and avoid those high in purines.
A gout diet includes:
Try to steer clear of:
Some foods and drinks have been shown in studies to lower the risk of gout attacks. Examples are cherries and coffee, and research also shows that vitamin C supplements can help reduce uric acid levels.
The gout diet works well in combination with treatments that your South Florida Foot & Ankle Centers provider can recommend, depending on your symptoms and flare frequency.
When you do experience a flare, we can recommend taking anti-inflammatory medication, oral steroid medication, or getting a steroid injection to help with inflammation.
Prescription medications can also lower the uric acid levels in your blood, while colchicine is a medication that helps to lower uric acid crystal accumulation in your joints.
We’re intent on restoring your comfort and mobility again after a gout flare or making an accurate diagnosis if you have puzzling symptoms. It’s critical to seek treatment for gout pain and swelling because leaving it untreated can lead to irreversible joint damage and a life marked by chronic pain and other discomfort.
Call the South Florida Foot & Ankle Centers office most convenient to you to schedule a conversation about gout, or request one online. We offer early morning, evening, and Saturday hours for your convenience.