What is Gout?
Gout is a common type of arthritis that most often affects the joint at the base of your big toe. Attacks of gout come on suddenly and can be miserable, causing symptoms such as:
- Intense joint pain that occurs abruptly, often in the middle of the night or upon waking
- Lingering joint discomfort that lasts a few days to weeks after the most severe pain fades
- Inflammation, including redness, swelling, warmth, and tenderness
- Restricted range of motion
Without treatment, gout can lead to increased pain and joint damage. You should schedule an appointment with us right away if you experience sudden, intense joint pain.
What Causes Gout?
Deposits of crystallized uric acid lead to gout attacks. Normally, your body removes uric acid from your blood and eliminates it via urination. When you have gout, uric acid builds up and crystallizes in your joints.
Uric acid accumulates in people’s bodies for a variety of reasons. This substance is the result of the breakdown of purines, which are chemicals naturally found in your body and in certain food and beverages, such as red meat and beer.
In some cases, gout develops because the kidneys can’t effectively eliminate uric acid through urine. Other times, the body produces too much uric acid. Certain factors may increase your risk for gout, including:
- Having a family history of gout
- Having certain medical conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure
- Eating a diet rich in certain foods and drinks, such as red meat, seafood, beer, and wine
Gout commonly affects the big toe because uric acid crystallizes at cooler temperatures. Because your toe is the farthest from our heart, it’s cooler than the rest of your body.
How is Gout Diagnosed and Treated?
First, our Providers review your symptoms and medical history and examines the affected joint. You may need tests, such as blood work or an on-site digital X-ray, to confirm a diagnosis of gout.
Then, we will recommend the best treatment for your specific needs. Treatment for gout typically includes medications and lifestyle changes, such as limiting food and drinks high in purines.
If you experience symptoms of gout, call us or book an appointment online today.