Gout is a form of arthritis that occurs as a result of the build-up of uric acid in the body and joint fluid. The actual build-up of the uric acid can result when the body has difficulty eliminating uric acid through the kidneys and urine or in some cases when the body produces too much uric acid.
Gout usually starts with a sudden onset of intense pain in one or more joints, usually the big toe joint of the foot. The pain is accompanied by redness, swelling and warmth over the joint. While symptoms most commonly occur in the big toe joint, any joint may be involved.
The diagnosis is based on a personal and family history evaluation. Blood tests often are performed to determine uric acid levels, and the joint fluid is examined to look for uric acid crystals. X-rays also may be performed to examine both the bones and joints to rule out abnormal changes associated with gout.
The treatment of gout starts with establishing the correct diagnosis. Oral anti-inflammatory medications are most often used to manage the acute attack. While over-the-counter drugs may reduce symptoms, they are rarely strong enough to treat the acute pain, swelling and inflammation. It is important that your doctor establish which of the two primary causes (producing too much uric acid or not eliminating it properly), is involved in order to treat the gout with the appropriate medication. If gout attacks continue despite medical treatment, if there are excessive deposits of gouty crystals within a joint, or if arthritis causes continual discomfort, surgical treatment may be necessary to remove the crystal, (tophi), and repair the joint.
Certain foods that are high in purines can increase uric acid levels and thus bring on an acute attack of gout. These foods include:
Some medications such as diuretics, (water pills), that are often used to control high blood pressure or reduce swelling also may cause an acute attack of gout. Stress, infection, and trauma also are possible causes. Drinking 6-8 glasses of water each day, eating an appropriate diet, and evaluating current medications will reduce the likelihood of an attack or lessen the severity should it occur.
We also provide other treatments for adults and children’s foot issues.
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