What is gout?
Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis in which urate crystals are deposited from your blood into synovial fluid (fluid within the joints) or other tissue. Most commonly this will occur in the big toe but it can occur in any joints within the body. This can cause great pain within the affected joints and this can affect your ability to walk or wear shoes.
Signs and Symptoms
- Sudden-onset, severe pain at the affected joint. This may be made worse with movement or rubbing against the joint.
- Warmth or a burning pain at the area.
- Stiffness in the affected joint.
Causes of Gout
Gout is the manifestation of increased amounts of urate crystals in your joints and tissues within your body. Urate crystals are present in everyone’s body but those with gout have greater amounts staying in the joints than those without gout.
Risk Factors for getting Gout
Your risk of getting an attack of gout is increased if you:
- Take certain medications including diuretics or aspirin
- Have a diet high in purine – Meat and seafood
- Have a high intake of alcohol, particularly beer and spirits
- Have a high intake of soft drinks
- Have high blood pressure
- Have diabetes
- Have recently had transplant surgery
- Have heart failure
- Are overweight or obese
Diagnosis of Gout
Gout can be diagnosed clinically by your podiatrist. Laboratory testing like a blood test may also be referred to which will be able to detect whether there is increased levels of uric acid in the body.
Treatment of Gout
If you are affected by gout, it is recommended that you assess your lifestyle to determine if any of your lifestyle factors are contributing to your gout. If you eliminate or reduce these, then your gout may go away or become less severe. For ongoing treatment, medications which reduce your body’s production or urate crystals may be prescribed by your GP. For acute attacks of gout, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen, naproxen, or aspirin, will help with pain and swelling as per you GP’s instructions.
At OnePointHealth, we can also provide pain relief with a device that inserts into your shoe which can reduce pressure applied to the affected area. This may include the use of an orthotic or other modifications to your footwear.