Although uric acid is a substance naturally found in the body, if there is an excess amount or your body has a hard time eliminating it, you may have an increased risk for a very painful condition that we treat at Paul Klein, DPM, FACFAS: gout. Gout occurs when uric acid builds up in a joint and then crystallizes. The big toe joint is the most common site of gout. This is due partly to the fact that uric acid is more likely to crystallize in colder temperatures and your toe being the part of your body furthest from your heart is the coolest part of you.
Who’s at Risk?
Gout most often affects men ages 40-60, although it can affect younger men and post-menopausal women. Other factors that increase the likelihood of a person getting gout include:
- Certain medications and vitamins
- High blood pressure
- Recent surgery
To diagnose gout, our podiatrist, Dr. Paul G. Klein, will want to get your medical history and examine the joint that is in pain. X-rays and lab tests may also be ordered to rule out other disorders that cause joint inflammation.
Gout can be treated by resting and elevating the affected foot. The podiatrist may prescribe medication aimed at reducing swelling, inflammation and pain. Your diet may also play a role in preventing gout attacks. Foods that are high in purines (a chemical that converts to uric acid when it breaks down in the body) should be avoided or severely limited. These include: red meat, shellfish, organ meats, red wine, rich sauces, beer and alcohol.
If gout becomes a chronic problem, the foot doctor may recommend a daily medication to prevent attacks. If you suspect you have had a gout attack or have more questions about this condition, contact our Wayne office at 973-595-1555.