Posts for tag: gout
Gout is a painful arthritic condition that affects nearly 4% of the world’s population, yet most people don’t recognize a gout attack when it happens. Pretty surprising for a disease that was first identified in 2640BC.
Gout, also called hyperuricemia, is brought on by high levels of uric acid which form crystals in the body. Uric acid is needed to break down purines, a chemical compound found naturally in many foods. Some bodies produce too much uric acid, and instead of being used, it builds up in the metatarsal joint of your big toe.
Symptoms include sudden and intense pain with redness and swelling. Attacks often happen at night and create tenderness so acute it’s painful to even lay the bedsheets over your toe. Lavish and decadent foods such as bacon, veal, scallops, and alcohol (particularly beer) have high levels of purines and can trigger the condition.
READ MORE ABOUT GOUT: My Big Toe Hurts
Many first-time gout sufferers delay treatment and eventually end up in an urgent care for pain relief. No need! Corticosteroid injections are available in-office and reduce swelling and pain almost immediately. Next, your podiatrist will work with you to form a plan to manage your gout.
The good news is that gout attacks are easily avoidable with dietary changes or oral medications. The bad news is that without treatment, the potential for an attack is always present because the internal process that leads to gout cannot be corrected.
If you are suffering from an attack, don’t delay your treatment. Gout can be indicative of cardiovascular issues or kidney damage. Know the signs and symptoms, so there’s no doubt in your mind about gout.
Ok so I'm exaggerating, but the health of your feet is often a good indicator of your overall health so when something seems wrong with your feet, it may have started elsewhere. Let’s look at a few signs our feet may tell us and what they may mean for our overall health:
- Skin and nails
Many people have dry feet and we just put up with it as a side effect of our feet being feet, but dryness in not normal. If you have dry feet no matter how much you moisturize, have your thyroid checked. A misbehaving thyroid can cause extreme skin dryness and even cracking of the toenails. Check your nails too. Do you see small pits or curves in your nails? These could be signs of psoriasis, anemia, or even lupus. But don’t jump to conclusions, only a podiatrist or other physician can definitively diagnose these conditions.
Do you have bald toes? Are your feet cold all of the time? These could be indications of poor circulation. Most people know when they have a serious vascular disease (PAD, arteriosclerosis, etc), but if you once had hairy toes and now they are smooth, this could indicate that your circulation is declining. Cold feet can also be another indicator of a pesky thyroid.
Did you wake up with a bright red, hot, and painful big toe? That would be gout, an inflammatory disease that’s a cousin to arthritis. How about sudden clubbing – swelling of the digits creating a ‘rounded’ look to feet and toes? This could indicate a serious lung infection, intestinal disease (like Crohns), or even lung cancer. Watch the tips of your toes specifically and if you see swelling that just won’t go away, see your podiatrist. Just like vascular diseases though, most people know they have a greater health issue before they see these symptoms.
- Persistent sores or numbness
Both of these are strong indicators of diabetes. If you see sores or injuries on your feet (particularly the bottom) that just wont seem to heal or you suddenly start experiencing pins and needles sensations in your feet, have your blood sugar checked. Don’t put this one off either, when left untreated (meaning managing your diabetes) a foot ulcer can worsen over time creating infection. In fact, 6% of people with chronic ulcers end up hospitalized from complications.
I say it over and over again, but pain is never normal! If you experience pain of any sort in your feet, go get it checked. Having pain around your joints? Could be an early indication of arthritis. Constantly cramping up? Could be dehydration or a mineral insufficiency of potassium, calcium, magnesium, or sodium. If your feet hurt all the time and become very painful to walk on you could be losing bone density, an early indication of osteoporosis.
There are all sorts of incredible things your feet can tell you (even if they aren’t really predicting the future) so pay attention to them. Examine your skin and nails for abnormalities, watch for sores or discolorations, and remember that pain in your feet is not normal! Start by seeing your podiatrist to rule out a directly related foot injury or disease then see your primary care physician to continue routine health monitoring. Your feet can tell you a lot if you just stop and listen.
You'll be seeing a lot of green tomorrow and that's because it's St. Patrick's Day; a holiday based around drinking and dying lots of random things green. There are a lot of reasons to stay extra safe and drink responsibly on St. Patty’s Day,but this year, do it for your feet. In terms of major holidays, St. Patty’s Day isn’t celebrated as much as you’d think, but those who do celebrate tend to do so with a lot of green beer so safety should still be a priority. Alcohol related foot and ankle injuries can’t be avoided by the luck of the Irish, so make sure you know what to look out for this St. Patty’s Day.
Trips and Falls
Most people worry about trips and falls in the winter when conditions aren’t at their best. However, even if conditions are perfect, if you aren’t walking at your best, you could be risking a serious fall and potential injury. Alcohol is a factor in about 1/3 of all fall related injuries treated at hospitals. While it’s in the minority, detailed studies of these patients reveal that the severity of the injury increases significantly when alcohol is involved. A bruised ankle is much quicker to heal than a fractured one and DUI accidents result in more fatalities than non-alcohol related accidents. Be aware of your footing throughout the day and know when you’ve hit your drink limit before you surpass it. If you think your bar tab is high, just wait until you get the hospital bill from your alcohol related emergency room visit.
Gout is a form of arthritis and symptoms are triggered when people eat or drink foods high in purines. Beer is chock full of purines and should be avoided completely by those who have been diagnosed with gout. Patients who drink one beer daily are 1.5 times more likely to get gout symptoms than those that refrain. Don’t think you’re home free with other types of alcohol either. Alcohol is filtered through the kidneys and causes a rise in uric acid, leading to gout symptoms that include purple or reddish discoloration, limited joint movement, and severe pain and sensitivity in the toes, particularly the big toe. If you have been diagnosed with gout, or experience any of these symptoms within a few hours or a few days of drinking, it may be best to avoid the green beer and stick to water instead.
You probably won’t have to worry about this one if you only drink on major holidays, but long-term alcohol use can lead to nerve damage in the limbs. Those with alcohol neuropathy have permanently damaged their peripheral nerves and this leads to tingling sensations and pain in their hands and feet. Alcohol is not the only contributing factor. Vitamin deficiencies can also lead to these symptoms, but symptoms will worsen with alcohol consumption. Luckily, abstaining from alcohol can help restore most nerves back to a healthy state and vitamin levels to normal. Some damage however, may be permanent. The easiest way to avoid alcoholic neuropathy is to consume alcohol only in moderation.
Don’t Forget to Tip your Bartender
If you decide not to tip your hardworking bartender, you may be directly jeopardizing their foot health. Bars tend to open earlier and stay open later on St. Patty’s day, meaning much longer shifts for the staff. Do you know what it’s like to be standing and running around serving drinks on your feet for 10 hours at a time? They do and let me tell you, their feet are punishing them for it by the end of the night. Just the added stress of standing longer can lead to a myriad of other foot problems, all resulting in foot pain. Tip them well; they are sacrificing their health for you.
Follow these tips and maybe you can avoid a trip to the podiatrist this St. Patty’s Day. However, if you do need help with a foot or ankle injury, don’t forget that the FAAWC has walk-in hours for instant access to our doctors. Be safe and wear green to avoid a day of playful pinching.
…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.