Dealing with Gout


This month we recognize World Arthritis Day. Arthritis is actually an umbrella term that covers about 100 different joint disorders. One that we at NY Foot Health would like to make sure patients are informed about is gout.

What is Gout?

Gout is a form of arthritis that most often attacks the big toe joint (although it can strike other parts of the foot, ankle or body). This condition is caused by a buildup of uric acid in the body. Although this is a normal byproduct of your diet and found naturally in the body, people susceptible to gout either produce too much or have difficulty eliminating uric acid. When an excess amount of uric acid builds up in the joints it can crystallize and cause intense pain. This process is intensified by cold temperatures and because your toes are the farthest from the heart, they have the greatest likelihood of being affected.

Who Gets Gout?

The tendency for gout can be hereditary. It also affects more men than women, at least up to about the age of 60. Other factors that increase your risk of getting gout include:

  • Having certain medical conditions: high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and high cholesterol

  • Obesity

  • Having gastric bypass surgery

  • Certain medications such as diuretics and some immune system suppressants or any medications that raise uric acid levels.

How Can Gout be Prevented?

In many instances, diet can play a major role in gout. Red meat, shellfish, rich sauces, red wine and brandy have all been shown to cause gout attacks. Protein compounds found in foods like lentils and beans may also increase the risk of an attack. If you have suffered a gout attack, it’s important that you make an appointment with your podiatrist to help determine what is causing it. (If you need to find a podiatrist in your area, consult our online directory.) Once you isolate the foods that trigger an attack you can avoid them. In addition, your podiatrist may prescribe medication to help prevent future attacks.

Being proactive in your podiatric health is important. To learn more about foot and ankle conditions, contact us today.

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