Sudden, Intense Toe Pain May Be a Gout Attack

In the past, gout has been called a “rich man’s disease” because a diet heavy in meat, seafood and alcoholic beverages can trigger a gout attack. However, no matter who gets hit with gout, they’re going to experience sudden and intense pain.

If your blood has an unusually high level of uric acid, either because your kidneys aren’t excreting enough uric acid or your body is making too much, urate crystals can form. When these sharp crystals settle in a joint they can cause severe pain and inflammation. This is called gout and is actually a form of arthritis.

The pain of gout is often sudden and frequently hits at night. In most gout sufferers, the large joint of the big toe will be affected. However, gout can occur in other joints too like the knees, hands, wrists, ankles and other locations in the feet. Patients with gout experience pain along with throbbing, swelling and a burning sensation.

It’s true that some rich foods can increase the level of uric acid in the body. These are steak, organ meats and seafood. Drinks containing fructose as well as alcohol tend to produce uric acid as well. In addition to a rich diet, others at risk of a gout attack are those who have untreated high blood pressure, heart disease or diabetes, those with a family history of gout and those who take diuretics or low-dose aspirin.

Treating Gout

Although the pain of a gout attack will subside, you may be left with long-lasting joint pain and possibly decreased mobility. If not treated properly, gout can cause permanent damage to the joint.

Don’t just tolerate a gout attack. Take action by contacting Your Next Step. Once we’ve confirmed our diagnosis by checking for the presence of the urate crystals, we’ll prescribe the right medication to take care of your symptoms and any potential complications.

Preventing Gout

It is possible to prevent painful gout attacks with changes to your diet:

Limit alcoholic drinks – especially beer.

  • Reduce the amount of fish, meat and poultry in your diet. In particular, avoid steak, liver, sweetbreads, kidney, anchovies, sardines, herring, mussels, trout, scallops, tuna, mackerel and haddock.
  • Eat and drink low-fat dairy products that may protect against gout and also provide healthy protein.
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Avoid pre-sweetened drinks especially if they contain high fructose corn syrup.

Staying at a healthy weight also appears to lower the risk of gout.

Call Us for Help with Gout Symptoms or Any Foot and Ankle Pain

Dr. Eric Ricefield, Dr. Mark Yagodich and Dr. Aliza V. Eisen, board certified or qualified podiatrists can quickly diagnose and successfully treat your toe, foot or ankle pain. Please call us for an appointment today for any foot or ankle pain or problems. You’ll find contact information at the website for our Ardmore, Paoli and Downingtown offices. Don’t live with the pain of gout – we can help!

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