My Big Toe Hurts...

…Could be gout.  Gout is a very painful type of arthritis that results from the build up of uric acid in the body. Uric acid is produced when our bodies break down purines (found in our body tissues and many rich foods). Normally, uric acid is filtered through our kidneys and leaves the body peacefully, but when uric acid builds up, it can attack and lead to very painful results. Three different things can occur with the buildup of uric acid: the acid can crystallize leaving deposits in the joints, deposits of uric acid can form lumps under your skin, or you may develop kidney stones. While those last two don’t sound pleasant either, it’s the first result that causes the painful condition of gout.

A sudden attack of gout has been known to wake people up from their sleep. The uric acid crystallizes and builds up between the joints of the big toe causing pain, redness, swelling, heat, and stiffness. These symptoms can also occur in the ankle, heel, or even wrists and fingers.

Gout is known as the disease of kings and for a very good reason. A person may be more likely to develop gout if they are a man, are overweight, drink too much alcohol, eat many foods rich in purines, or have family members with the disease. The most purines are found in liver, seafood, alcohol, duck, bacon, venison and other rich foods, or in other words, exactly what a king would eat. Most famously, both Henry VIII of England and Leonardo da Vinci were sufferers of gout.

It’s too bad that they couldn’t visit the FAAWC, because our podiatrists can help diagnose and treat your gout. Diagnosis is fairly straightforward and will usually involve a family history with a physical examination. Fluid may be drawn from the joint to look for crystals. Treatment involves oral medications such as anti-inflammatory drugs, corticosteroids, or medicines to lower the amount of uric acid in the blood. As long as you stick with your medication regimen and stay away from foods high in purines, you can rest easy knowing your gout is unlikely to reappear.

If you think you may be suffering from gout, call the FAAWC today to book an appointment. Relief from your pain is only a step away.

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