Gout is a general name for a variety of conditions that result from a build-up of uric acid crystals in the joints. This build-up usually affects your feet. Uric acid comes from the breakdown of purines in many of the foods we eat. An abnormality in the management of uric acid and the crystallisation of these compounds in the joints can cause painful arthritis attacks.
Gout in foot is a particular form of arthritis that causes recurrent attacks of severe pain in one or more joints. Gout attacks usually last a few days and then the symptoms disappear for several weeks. All joints can be affected, but most often the disease starts in the joint at the base of the big toe. The joint then becomes purplish red and swollen.
Gout in Foot Symptoms
Acute attacks of gout are characterised by the rapid onset of pain in the affected joint, followed by heat, swelling, reddish discolouration and marked tenderness. Some people even report feeling as if the affected area is on fire. The small joint at the base of the big toe is the most common area for an attack.
Other joints that may be affected are the ankles, knees, wrists, fingers and elbows. In some people, the acute pain is so severe that the slightest touch of the bed sheet to the toe causes acute pain. These painful attacks usually subside within hours or days, with or without medication. In rare cases, an attack can last for weeks. Most people with gout will have repeated attacks over the years.
Stages of Gout
Symptoms and treatment differ according to stage. There are four stages of gout:
- asymptomatic hyperuricaemia
- acute gout
- intermittent gout
- chronic gout
Hyperuricemia occurs when you have too much uric acid in your blood. If you have no other symptoms, this is asymptomatic hyperuricemia.
Acute gout occurs when hyperuricemia causes uric acid crystals to form in one of your joints. It causes severe pain and swelling. Your joint may also feel hot. Your symptoms will come on suddenly and will probably last for 3 to 10 days. You may experience several acute attacks of gout over a period of months or years.
Intermittent gout is the period between attacks of acute gout. You will have no symptoms at this stage.
Chronic gout can occur if you leave it untreated. It can take 10 years or more to develop. During this stage, hard nodules (tophi) develop in your joints and in the skin and soft tissue around them. Tophi can also develop in other parts of your body, such as your ears. They can cause permanent damage to your joints.
Gout in Foot Causes
Gout is a complex disease. It can be caused by a variety of factors. Certain conditions, such as blood and metabolic disorders, can cause your body to produce too much uric acid. Excessive alcohol consumption can also lead to excess uric acid.
Certain foods can also promote gout when you eat too much of them. These include:
- red meat
- sweetened juice
You can also get gout if your body does not excrete uric acid properly. If you are dehydrated or starving, it can be difficult for your body to excrete uric acid. It then builds up as deposits in your joints.
Certain diseases and conditions, such as kidney or thyroid problems, can also affect your body’s ability to eliminate uric acid. Some medicines can also make it harder for your body to remove uric acid. These include diuretics and immunosuppressive fungal drugs.
See here: Gout Causes.
Obesity, excessive weight gain, especially in young people, moderate to heavy alcohol consumption, high blood pressure and abnormal kidney function are among the risk factors for developing gout. Certain medications and diseases can also cause high levels of uric acid. In addition, there is an increased prevalence of abnormally low levels of thyroid hormones (hypothyroidism) in patients with gout.
Diagnosis of Gouty Arthritis
Gout is considered when a patient reports a history of repeated attacks of painful arthritis, especially at the base of the toes or in the ankles and knees. The most reliable test for gout is the detection of uric acid crystals in joint fluid obtained by joint aspiration. This procedure is performed under topical local anaesthetic. Using a sterile technique, fluid is withdrawn (aspirated) from the inflamed joint using a syringe and needle.
However, a full blood work-up, X-rays and an overall assessment of the patient’s health is the first line of assessment for gout.
Gout in Foot Treatment
The treatment plan prescribed by your podiatrist will depend on the stage and severity of your gout. Medications often prescribed :
- colchicine (oral medication) to reduce pain in your joint
- non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or naproxen, to reduce inflammation and pain in your joint
- corticosteroids, such as prednisone, to reduce inflammation and pain in your joint
- medicines to reduce the production of uric acid in your body, such as allopurinol
- medicines to help your body eliminate uric acid, such as probenecid
In addition to medication, your podiatrist may recommend lifestyle changes to help you manage your symptoms and reduce your risk of future gout attacks. For example, they may encourage you to :
- adjust your diet
- reduce your alcohol intake
- lose weight
- stop smoking
- Intra-articular cortisone injections can be given to reduce chronic gout symptoms.
Home remedies for Gout on Foot include RICE: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation, as well as natural home remedies and common medication.
Curcumin and Boswellia for Gout
Gout in Foot Diet
The special gout diet aims to reduce the level of uric acid to alleviate attacks of joint pain. The diet is:
- Reduce consumption of purine-rich foods in favour of low-purine foods;
- Replenish vitamin C;
- Achieve and maintain a healthy weight;
- Avoid saturated fats and glucose-fructose syrup;
- Limiting alcohol consumption.
Indeed, to lower your uric acid levels in the event of gout, it is easy to choose foods low in purines and to include them in your diet. In fact, by adding a good supply of vitamin C, Omega-3 and protective foods, you are much more likely to keep gout attacks at bay and thus have a better quality of life.
You should make sure to favour foods low in purines during meals. This will help prevent attacks and reduce the symptoms of gout.
There are certain foods that are best for gout. Some studies have shown that low-fat dairy products, fruits, vegetables, nuts and all Omega-3 rich foods can help reduce the risk of gout.
It is also recommended that protein, carbohydrate and fat intake is spread throughout the day by eating 3 balanced meals and snacks if necessary.
Gout: What helps quickly?
Read More: Gout: What helps quickly?
Gout Toe: Cool or Warm?
If used properly, heat can :
Applying heat relieves pain and stiffness by relaxing sore muscles and stimulating blood flow to the affected area. However, it has been suggested that heat may exacerbate symptoms when the joint is already inflamed.
Cold causes blood vessels to constrict and blocks nerve impulses in the joint, resulting in numbness in the painful area. Applying an ice pack or cold compress relieves inflammation and would therefore be the method of choice when the joint is inflamed.
How long does a Gout Attack in Foot last?
How do I know if I have gout in my foot?
What are the symptoms of gout in foot?
How do you treat gout in your foot?
Will gout in foot go away by itself?
What is the main cause of gout in foot?
What is best pain relief for gout in foot?
How long does gout last on foot?
GoutSpringer Science & Business Media. 2012
Gout: Basic Science and Clinical Practice is a thoroughly researched comprehensive text which covers all important aspects of gout, including its genetics, pathophysiology, diagnosis, and management. Gout is probably the most common rheumatic disease after osteoarthritis and is becoming more common with the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome in the US, and in many other countries. Only about 10% of patients with gout are treated by rheumatologists and this often leads to inadequate...
Understanding GoutHealthy Living Publications. 2014
Effective gout management is attainable! Gout is a chronic, painful, degenerative disease of the joints and one of the most common inflammatory arthritic conditions. But relief is at hand! Understanding Gout examines the causes, symptoms,and treatments of this debilitating disease and identifies who might be at risk. Here is the essential information about testing, diagnosis, and complications that can arise from untreated attacks. Along with a review of the medications used for managing...
GoutOxford University Press. 2016
Gout has become increasingly prevalent in recent years, and is now the most common form of inflammatory arthritis. There have been significant developments in our understanding of the basic biology of gout over the last decade, and major advances in therapeutics have provided successful treatments for acute attacks and long-term prevention, offering clinicians effective treatment options for their patients. Part of the Oxford Rheumatology Library series, Gout provides an up-to-date summary...
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