The medical term referred to as gout will typically affect the big toe and surrounding areas. Typical symptoms may generally include severe pain and discomfort in the area of the big toe, heat that may radiate from the foot, in addition to swelling and redness. It occurs as a result of elevated uric acid levels in the blood, which causes crystals to form in the joints. There may be several reasons for this to happen, including diabetes, high blood pressure, or congestive heart failure. Additionally, eating foods that have elevated fructose levels may lead to the onset of gout, in addition to drinking excess alcohol, or eating red meat or seafood. Successful prevention and treatment of gout may begin with eating healthy foods and implementing a gentle exercise program. If obesity exists, it may be helpful to lose excess weight which may aid in protecting the joints. If you are having gout attacks, it is advised to speak to a podiatrist who can properly treat this condition.
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.
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