What is Gout?
Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis caused by an increase of crystalized uric acid in the joints and can be severely painful. It may develop in the ankles, knees, wrists, fingers, and elbows, but most commonly develops in the foot – specifically at the base of the big toe. Gout also most commonly develops in men, peaking at age 75, but can occur in women at any age as well.
What Causes Gout?
Uric acid build up is the primary cause of gout, but there are several common ways gout developers:
- Recent injuries may cause inflammation and uric acid build up, which may ultimately lead to gout
- Kidney function issues and disease may hinder your kidneys’ ability to eliminate the correct amount of uric acid needed to prevent gout
- Heredity may cause you to be more prone to kidney disease and issues, and may cause your body to naturally overproduce uric acid aiding in gout development
When coupled with factors like heredity and kidney function issues, certain foods may also cause the development of gout. Foods that contain high amounts of purines, a chemical compound that leads to the formation of uric acid, may increase your change of developing gout.
Some of the foods that are high in purines are:
- Red meats
- Red wine
- Oily fish
- Certain vegetables
Other common factors in developing gout include:
- Alcohol intake
- Obesity and weight gain
- High blood pressure
- Certain drugs & medication
Gout Symptoms & Identification
Gout has several identifiable characteristics and symptoms, include:
- Severe joint pain
- Pain that develops in the middle of the night
- Continuous discomfort, aches, soreness, and sensitivity in a joint
- Fever and fatigue
Treatment & Care
There are several common treatment and care options for gout. These options will often depend upon the severity of your gout’s development. Once our doctor evaluates the severity of your gout, we can decide upon an invasive or non-invasive treatment option.
Non-invasive Treatment Options
Non-invasive treatment options may include taking oral medications or making changes to your diet. When prescribed medication, most of the symptoms of gout will dissipate, and patients have reported significant improvement within a few hours of treatment. In addition, you may be asked to alter your diet to reduce your intake of foods with high purine levels to decrease your uric acid production.
If you continue to experience frequent gout attacks, our podiatrist may refer you to to your primary care physician who can prescribe long-term medication to control your output of uric acid. Repeated gout attacks can also cause arthritic changes to occur within your affected joints.
Invasive Treatment Options
If you have an extreme case of gout, surgery may be needed to remove the uric acid crystals from the joint to prevent further damage. Our doctor will always seek the best approach which begins with conservative treatment, but will operate if it is necessary for the severity of your gout.
There are home-based remedies that have been toted as being helpful in preventing gout formation. These practices are not typically the first recommended treatment, and do not directly fight gout, but they have been shown to improve kidney function, reduce inflammation, and help lower uric acid.
Incorporating some of the food, mineral, and beverages listed below may help with the prevention of gout and gout-related symptoms:
- Turmeric, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and warm water
- Cherries and tart cherry juice
- Celery & celery seeds
- Nettle tea
Before adjusting your diet you should consult a medical professional.
If you are suffering from gout or any gout-related symptoms, you should contact our office and schedule an appointment with Dr. Paul Klein of North Jersey Podiatry. Dr. Klein will give you a diagnosis based off of a full foot examination, your medical history, and possible X-rays and laboratory blood tests if needed.