Awoken in the middle of the night you are greeted by an exquisitely painful big toe and redness with swelling and warmth to accompany it. You don’t recall any injury that day and are wondering how this just came about out of the blue. If this is the first time you have experienced this, you will likely schedule an appointment to see your doctor to see what could be afflicting your great toe. If this is not your first time, this is an all too familiar pain and you know that what you are dealing with is gout.
Gout is a type of Arthritis caused by urate crystals that deposit in joints and cause a painful inflammatory reaction. Gout occurs for one of two reasons with the first being the body produces too much uric acid which is a byproduct of purines, a substance in the body that can also be found in certain foods. The second reason is that the kidneys don’t properly eliminate the uric acid causing it to build up in the body.
Gout that goes untreated can lead to joint damage. It can also lead to deposits in the skin called tophi. Tophi are a buildup of gouty crystals. Tophi can be found in numerous places including fingers, elbows, feet and the Achilles tendon.
There are certain risk factors that increase your chance of developing a gouty attack. These include;
1. A diet rich in meat, seafood & alcohol.
2. Medical conditions such as high blood pressure, kidney disease and diabetes.
3. Medications, such as aspirin or blood pressure medications.
4. A recent trauma or surgery increases the risk of developing gout.
5. Genetics. A family history of gout increases your chances of developing a gouty attack.
6. Men are more likely to develop gout attacks, though the chance for women increases after menopause.
Numerous measures can be taken at home to avoid gout including maintaining a healthy weight, watching your diet, and drinking plenty of water. There are also medications that can help treat the acute gouty attack, but also help prevent them in the future. If you think you may be dealing with gout, Contact Us here at Dakota Foot & Ankle to schedule an appointment for further diagnosis and treatment.