One of the more painful conditions that patients bring to us at Gentle Professional Foot Care is gout. Gout is a form of arthritis that occurs when uric acid builds up in a joint. It most often affects the big toe because at cooler temperatures uric acid crystallizes and this is what causes the pain. Your toe, being the part of your body farthest from the heart, is the coolest part. Gout can affect other joints as well, however. Factors that increase your risk of developing gout include:
- High blood pressure
- Certain medications and certain vitamins
The Diet Connection
Other triggers for gout can be found in the food you eat. Purines, a chemical found in certain foods and drinks, can increase the production of uric acid in your body. If you have a previous history of gout you may want to avoid the following:
- Red meat
- Organ meats (liver, sweetbreads, tongue)
- Red wine and beer (although all alcohol should be limited if you are prone to gout)
- Shellfish (shrimp, lobster, crab)
- Rich sauces
- Refined carbohydrates (white rice, pasta)
- Processed foods (chips, snack foods, frozen meals)
- Sugary drinks
It is also recommended that you drink plenty of fluid to keep your body hydrated and help the body eliminate uric acid.
If you suspect that you have had a gout attack, you’ll want to contact our Venice office for an appointment. Gout often strikes in the middle of the night or when you first get up with severe pain in your toe and signs of inflammation: redness, swelling and warmth around the joint. Our podiatrist, Dr. Charles A. Suleskey, will want to examine your foot and may order x-rays or laboratory studies to rule out other possible conditions with similar symptoms. If the foot doctor confirms a diagnosis of gout, he may prescribe medication to treat it. Symptoms can take 3 to 10 days to go away and it may be recommended that you stay off your feet as much as possible during that time and also to elevate the affected foot.
If you have questions about gout, call us at: 941-493-7999.