When you experience a pain in the joint of your big toe that is accompanied by redness and swelling, you may have a condition known as gout. It is a form of arthritis caused by a buildup of urate in the blood. It ends up producing crystals that form in and around the joints, the most common of which is the joints of the big toe. During a gout flare-up the joint becomes tender, painful, red, hot and swollen. These symptoms can appear overnight, but may take about a week to recede. Gout is more common in older men, especially if they are overweight, eat fat-rich foods, and consume a lot of alcohol. If left untreated, gout can begin to form in other joints. If you think you may be having a flare-up of gout, it is wise to make an appointment with a podiatrist as soon as possible for a proper diagnosis and possible course of 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 New York . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.