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What You Need To Know About Gout

Gout is a common type of arthritis that is found in the foot and causes stiff, swollen and painful joints.

Gout comes from the build up of uric acid in the bloodstream. If uric acid levels become too high crystals begin to form and get deposited in the joints, and tissues of the body, causing intense pain, redness, and swelling.

Normally, uric acid is excreted in the urine with the help of the kidneys but may become impaired with kidney disease. High levels of uric acid is also associated with kidney stones.

What Are the Symptoms of Gout?

Gout commonly attacks the big toe but it can also affect other parts of the foot, ankle knee, wrist and hand.  A sudden sharp pain in your big toe or foot accompanied by redness and swelling with no injury or trauma may be a sign of gout. Other symptoms of gout include hot, swollen, stiff and painful joints.

The gout attack may last a few days to several weeks. Even if your gout pain goes away follow up with your doctor to prevent any future gout attacks and make sure there is no long term damage to the joint.

What Are The Causes of Gout?

A gout attack is caused by the build of uric acid levels in the bloodstream causing sharp painful crystal to form in the joint. Uric acid is a naturally occurring byproduct that comes from the breakdown of purines in foods.

Purines are found in most foods such as meats, liver, dried beans, anchovies and beer but some foods that have higher purine levels can increase your chance of a gout attack. Try avoiding foods that have high purine concentration levels. Find out the purine levels in the food you eat using this purine food table

Other Risk factors for gout include:

  • Male
  • Diabetic
  • Diet rich in seafood, liver and meat
  • Hereditary
  • High alcohol intake (beer)
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Eating foods high in purines
  • Kidney Disease

What Tests are Used to Diagnose Gout?

  • Blood Test
  • Fluid Analysis
  • X-Ray
  • Urinalysis

What are the Treatments for Gout?

There are different treatments for gout depending on family history and severity of the condition. For diagnosis and treatment of gout your doctor may request laboratory tests to check the uric acid level in the bloodstream.

Medication - such as ibuprofen may be helpful to decrease the inflammation and reduce the pain from the gout flare-up. Other medications such as corticosteroids, colchicine, allopurinol may be prescribed to treat the gout symptoms and decrease the uric acid level in the blood.

Diet & Lifestyle - Change eating habits to eat foods low in purines and limit consumption of red meat, beer and soda. Exercise Other treatment for gout includes dietary and lifestyle change

Hydration - Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Water helps your kidneys flush your system getting rid of built up toxins.

Rest & Elevation - Stay off your foot and keep it elevated above your heart to reduce pain and swelling.

If you have had gout or you have a family history of gout talk to your doctor about a treatment plan to reduce your risk of gout. For more information or for help with your foot problem, contact the experienced foot specialists at Sol Foot & Ankle Centers in Long Beach, CA.

Sources:

American College of Foot & Ankle Surgeons - Gout

Centers for Disease Control - Arthritis Basics Gout

American College of Rheumatology

MedlinePlus - Gout