Gout is a common form of inflammatory arthritis that can affect anyone. It is characterized by unexpected, severe attacks of intense pain, swelling, and redness in the joints, as well as around the base of the big toe. The pain most often presents in the big toe joint, but can affect any part of the foot and ankle, and even the entire body.
Learn more about gout, the symptoms you may experience, and how Comprehensive Foot Specialists in Huntington, NY, approaches cases of gout so patients can live life more comfortably.
Gout is a form of inflammatory arthritis characterized by attacks of red, hot, tender, and swollen joints. Commonly, the onset of pain is rapid and most often noted at the base of the big toe joint. Gout is provoked by a persistently elevated uric acid level in the blood caused by numerous risk factors, including genetics, diet, and additional health complications. At an elevated level, uric acid precipitates into joints, tendons, and the surrounding tissue as painful crystals. The primary symptoms of gout usually occur unexpectedly and/or at night, and can involve:
Gout can occur suddenly when urate crystals accumulate in the joints, producing the inflammation and intense pain that characterizes a gout attack. Urate crystals can build up when there are high levels of uric acid in the blood. The human body naturally produces uric acid when it breaks down purines, which are a chemical compound found in various foods such as red meat, poultry, and shellfish. Additional foods that carry high levels of uric acid that can cause gout attacks include alcoholic beverages and drinks with fructose. There are many variables that can increase a person’s chance of experiencing gout, such as:
The diagnosis of gout is performed in the office or hospital setting based on the patient’s symptoms and a physical exam. However, it is frequently difficult to differentiate gout from infection. At this time, your doctor may perform a synovial fluid analysis. This is achieved via the use of a small needle that extracts fluid from the joint or area of concern. This specimen is then sent to the lab for microscopic assessment. Your doctor may also recommend blood tests to identify if hyperuricemia, or elevated uric acid levels, is present. Unfortunately the test is limited, secondary to the fact that these levels are not always elevated at the time of diagnosis. In addition, plain X-rays can aid in the diagnosis of gout, but are often normal and not always useful for confirming the diagnosis of early gout stages.
Initially, the goal of treatment for gout is to alleviate pain and reduce the symptoms of an acute attack. This may include over-the-counter pain medication, steroids, and/or colchicine. Ultimately, options for prevention may best suit the patient by lowering uric acid levels via systemic medication and diet modifications.
At Comprehensive Foot Specialists, we are the experts in treating all different types of foot conditions, including gout. We provide the best foot care at our office Huntington, NY, from our highly qualified team of podiatrists. Contact us to learn more about the additional services we offer and how we can help heal your foot ailment today.
At Comprehensive Foot Specialists, our expert physicians are dedicated to treating a wide variety of foot and ankle conditions so you can live comfortably, 24/7. Contact us today to learn more!Book an Appointment