Gout is often portrayed as an “old person’s disease,” but in fact it is most common in 40 to 60 year old men and can actually occur in younger men and women. Gout is a painful condition that affects joints. In the foot, it most often affects the big toe joint. Symptoms include intense pain in the joint, swelling, redness, warmth, and inflammation.
What Causes Gout?
Gout is a disorder that is caused by a buildup of uric acid in the joints or tissues. Uric acid is naturally present in the blood and is normally eliminated in the urine but in people with gout, the uric acid accumulates and then crystallizes in the joints. The tendency to store uric acid can be inherited. Other factors that increase a person’s risk for developing gout include:
- High blood pressure
- Certain medications and vitamins
At Great Neck Family Foot Care, our board certified foot and ankle surgeons, Dr. Alec Hochstein and Dr. Diana Gagliano will conduct a thorough examination of your foot and the area around the joint that is inflamed and in pain. A detailed medical history will be taken and sometimes digital x-rays (which can be done in our Great Neck office) and other laboratory tests may be ordered to rule out other possible conditions. If the podiatrist determines that you are suffering from gout, an appropriate treatment plan will be developed which may include one or more of the following:
- Limiting certain foods that have been associated with an increase in uric acid, such as shellfish, organ meats, red wine, beer, and red meat
- Prescription medications or injections to treat pain, inflammation, and swelling
- Increasing your fluid intake while avoiding alcoholic beverages which cause dehydration
- Giving the foot with gout a rest by avoiding walking and standing as much as possible, as well as elevating the affected foot to help reduce swelling
The symptoms of gout usually go away within three to ten days of treatment. Repeated attacks after treatment may mean that other, longer term medications may be needed. If you are suffering pain in your big toe or other joints, delaying treatment could result in damage to the joint. Call our Nassau county office today to request an appointment at: (516) 482-5999.