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   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.

…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.

Plantar Fasciitis. Let’s say it together, PLAN-tur fashee-EYE-tis. If you’ve hung around the FAAWC enough, I’m sure you have run into this term. Whether you heard it in passing in the hall or saw it on a brochure, it’s important to know what it is, because you may be experiencing it! When you wake up in the morning and, after hitting the snooze button several times, swing your feet onto the floor, do you feel sharp pain in your heels or the bottoms of your feet? This is due to your plantar fascia.

The plantar fascia is a band of connective tissue that connects your heel to your toes and supports the arch of your foot. Previously, it was believed that this was an inflammatory condition, but recent research shows actual structural changes in the plantar fascia. Essentially, repeated stress on the plantar fascia causes small tears in the ligament, can lead to calcium deposits in the connective tissues, and may rearrange the collagen fibers of your foot.

There are several risk factors that can lead to plantar fasciitis including:

  • Walking or standing for long periods of time on hard surfaces
  • Having very high or very low arches
  • Wearing shoes that do not fit properly
  • Rolling your feet inward when you walk
  • Having excessively tight calf muscles or Achilles tendons

As always, the first thing you should do is stop all activity and rest the affected foot or feet. Heat and ice along with stretching and strengthening exercises will help with plantar fasciitis, but it’s important to see your podiatrist for a full recovery plan. This plan may involve taping techniques, custom orthotics, steroid shots, or even surgery as a last result.

If you wake up in the morning with pain in your arches or heels, you may be suffering from plantar fasciitis. Please call the FAAWC today to make an appointment and get you waking up to a pain free morning!

Can “carrying a watermelon” cause a neuroma?

Jennifer Gray, former star of Dirty Dancing, and formerly a contestant of Dancing with the Stars, mentioned last season that she has a neuroma.  A neuroma is a benign nerve enlargement, most often found in the peripheral nerves of the foot.  Since nerves travel in very tight spaces in your feet, they are prone to being pressed against the bones, which cause irritation and inflammation.  Wearing tight shoes, shoes with heels, or any abnormal repetitive stress can cause a neuroma. 

The most common symptoms of a neuroma are burning/tingling pain in the ball of the foot, numbness in the toes, a feeling that there is a “stone” in your shoe or a wrinkled sock, or a painful lump that is painful with touch.  Fortunately, neuromas can usually be treated without surgery.  Treatment can include a series of small, relatively pain-free injections that reduce the nerve to its regular size, offloading the ball of the foot, medication, or even changes in shoes.  Certain diagnostic test can help diagnose a neuroma, but are usually not needed.

Even if you’re not a professional dancer, a neuroma can be a very painful condition, and is usually treated quite easily.  Often the earlier you seek treatment, the more likelihood of success with conservative measures.  At the Foot & Ankle Wellness Center, we are well equipped to handle your neuroma pain, and any other foot or ankle condition.  Remember, foot pain is NOT normal, and you should never have to live with it!