Gout is a type of joint problem caused by the formation of tiny crystals. It happens when your body makes too much uric acid, or your kidneys do not get rid of it efficiently. This uric acid is a leftover from breaking down certain foods. When uric acid levels get too high, it turns into crystals that cannot dissolve and remain in your tissues, causing inflammation. Your body's defense cells try to absorb these crystals, but they may become damaged as a result of how sharp they are. Gout is more common in men and often shows up after age 30 or in women after menopause. Gout has four stages. The first stage involves high uric acid with no symptoms. The second stage includes painful joint attacks The third stage is generally pain-free periods between attacks. The fourth stage consists of severe gout with lumpy deposits that are known as tophi. During a gout attack, you will experience severe pain, redness, swelling, and warmth in the joint. The big toe is a common spot for gout, and over time, untreated gout can harm your joints. In severe cases, surgery may be needed if the joint damage is extensive. Gout can be diagnosed by examining joint fluid or having X-rays taken. If you believe you have gout, it is suggested that you schedule an appointment with a podiatrist for a proper diagnosis and treatment.
What Is Gout?
Gout is a form of arthritis that is characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, redness, and tenderness in the joints. The condition usually affects the joint at the base of the big toe. A gout attack can occur at any random time, such as the middle of the night while you are asleep.
- Intense Joint Pain - Usually around the large joint of your big toe, and it most severe within the first four to twelve hours
- Lingering Discomfort - Joint discomfort may last from a few days to a few weeks
- Inflammation and Redness -Affected joints may become swollen, tender, warm and red
- Limited Range of Motion - May experience a decrease in joint mobility
- Genetics - If family members have gout, you’re more likely to have it
- Medications - Diuretic medications can raise uric acid levels
- Gender/Age - Gout is more common in men until the age of 60. It is believed that estrogen protects women until that point
- Diet - Eating red meat and shellfish increases your risk
- Alcohol - Having more than two alcoholic drinks per day increases your risk
- Obesity - Obese people are at a higher risk for gout
Prior to visiting your podiatrist to receive treatment for gout, there are a few things you should do beforehand. If you have gout you should write down your symptoms--including when they started and how often you experience them, important medical information you may have, and any questions you may have. Writing down these three things will help your podiatrist in assessing your specific situation so that he or she may provide the best route of treatment for you.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact our office located in Pooler, GA . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.