How Do You Get Gout?
Gout is a common type of arthritis that most often affects the joint at the base of your big toe. Attacks of gout come on suddenly and can be miserable, causing symptoms such as:
- Intense joint pain that occurs abruptly, often in the middle of the night or upon waking.
- Lingering joint discomfort that lasts a few days to weeks after the most severe pain fades.
- Inflammation, including redness, swelling, warmth, and tenderness.
Deposits of crystallized uric acid lead to gout attacks. Normally, your body removes uric acid from your blood and eliminates it via urination. When you have gout, uric acid builds up and crystallizes in your joints. This substance is the result of the breakdown of purines, which are chemicals naturally found in your body and in certain food and beverages, such as red meat and beer.
In some cases, gout develops because the kidneys can’t effectively eliminate uric acid through urine. Other times, the body produces too much uric acid. Certain factors may increase your risk for gout, including:
- Having a family history of gout.
- Having certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
- Eating a diet rich in certain foods and drinks, such as red meat, seafood, beer, and wine.
Gout commonly affects the big toe because uric acid crystallizes at cooler temperatures. Because your toe is the farthest from your heart, it’s cooler than the rest of your body. Gout can cause Hammertoe conditions also.
Without treatment, gout can lead to increased pain and joint damage. You should schedule an appointment at Family Foot & Ankle Physicians right away if you experience sudden, intense joint pain.
How is Gout Diagnosed and Treated?
First, Family Foot & Ankle Physicians review your symptoms and medical history and examine the affected joint. You may need tests, such as blood work or an on-site digital X-ray, to confirm a diagnosis of gout. Then, Family Foot & Ankle Physicians recommends the best treatment for your specific needs. Treatment for gout typically includes medications and lifestyle changes, such as limiting food and drinks high in ingredients that worsen the condition.
If you experience symptoms of gout, call Family Foot & Ankle Physicians or book an appointment online today.
Family Foot & Ankle Physicians has a primary location in Greenville, servicing cities such as Greenville, Farmville, Ahoskie, Kinston, Winterville, Tarboro, New Bern, Edenton, Washington, Rocky Mount, with patients coming from throughout eastern North Carolina and beyond.