Many people think of gout as a disease that was prevalent centuries ago, but believe it or not, it’s quickly becoming more and more of a modern malady — to the tune of 8.3 million sufferers.
Often associated with the gluttonous King Henry VIII, gout is indeed related to excess. The symptoms of gout, which is a form of arthritis, include pain — often severe — that’s usually in a single joint.
Typically it’s the big toe joint that’s affected, and in addition to pain, you often experience redness and swelling, and your joint is warm to the touch.
The highly skilled team of podiatrists at South Florida Foot & Ankle Centers provides proven treatments for gout, and a host of foot and ankle conditions. They approach your care by focusing on your unique symptoms so they can formulate a treatment plan that’s tailored to you and you alone.
One of the most unpleasant parts about gout is that you can be pain-free for periods, but then experience a flare suddenly, with no warning. Flares are often accompanied by intense pain and seem to strike in the middle of the night.
Your joint may be so sensitive, in fact, that you can’t even endure a sheet brushing against it.
Certain lifestyle factors put you at higher risk for developing gout:
Purine is a chemical compound that your body breaks down into uric acid. Foods that are purine-rich include red meat, organ meat, scallops, tuna, sardines, and trout. When you eat these foods frequently, the uric acid crystallizes in a joint, causing gout pain.
Even if you don’t eat too many of these types of foods, your kidneys may simply be failing to filter the uric acid sufficiently from your body, or you might be one of the people who just naturally produce a lot of it.
Though gout often produces symptoms in the big toe joint, you can also have problems in the joints of your hands, knees, and elbows.
More men than women suffer with gout, and you’re more likely to be stricken if you struggle with obesity. The risk of gout also increases with advancing age.
Unfortunately, you need to be experiencing a flare to get a formal gout diagnosis. Your doctor can test for gout by taking a sample of the fluid that surrounds your affected joint and checking it out under a microscope for uric acid crystals.
Fortunately, the South Florida Foot & Ankle Centers team offers treatments that relieve the pain, swelling, and uncomfortable heat of your gout flares. It’s critical to seek treatment for gout because it can raise your risk for sustaining irreversible joint damage and chronic pain.
Treatment approaches for an excruciating gout flare include:
If you’re prone to excessive uric acid, converting to a low-purine diet lowers your chances of a gout attack, as does taking a vitamin C supplement and staying well hydrated.
If you do have an attack, colchicine addresses the swelling, a hallmark characteristic of gout, and combats the formation of uric acid crystals in your joint, thereby relieving pain.
Rest assured that our podiatrists combine treatments so they benefit you the most.
Don’t suffer one more day with the agony of gout. Call the South Florida Foot & Ankle Centers office that’s most convenient to you to schedule an appointment, or request one through our website.