Gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis that causes painful joint attacks. Signs and symptoms of gout can cause swelling and redness, and in some cases, visible lumpy deposits.

What You Need To Know About Gout

What is Gout?

Gout is a metabolic, inflammatory disease; it has been around as long as civilization. Medical reports from the 1600s describe Gout attacks and various explanations of causes. In fact, Benjamin Franklin, a sufferer of gout, is thought to have originally brought colchicine from France to the US to treat his gout.

Gout is usually hereditary, Primary Gout and is caused by an increase in the formation of uric acid in the bloodstream. Secondary Gout can occur due to other metabolic causes of increased uric acid in the bloodstream. Many people experience gout as an extreme pain in the big toe joint.

Getting relief from painful gout symptoms starts with a visit to Resurgens Orthopaedics. Schedule an appointment with the experts at our Foot and Ankle Center now!

What Causes Gout?

Gout is caused by an overload of uric acid in the body. Uric acid is the waste product left over after your digest foot and drinks. Normally waste products like uric acid are carried through your blood and out your kidneys, where it eventually is released as urine.

For people with gout, the problem starts when there is an increase in uric acid production or a decrease in excretion of uric acid. This causes hyperuricemia in the blood, and then these crystals cause inflammation in the joints or bursa. These crystals can cause gout flare-ups.

Certain foods may lead to higher levels of uric acid in your bloodstream. Uric acid is produced when your body breaks down foods with purines. Purines are highly concentrated in foods like seafood, organ meat, or steak. Often alcoholic beverages, beer, and fructose-sweetened beverages can increase uric acid in the blood.

The following circumstances can put you at a higher risk of developing gout:

  • Being a male

  • Obesity

  • Health conditions like diabetes, congestive heart failure, hypertension, among others

  • The use of diuretics and other medication

Gout Symptoms

Sudden onset of acute pain in a joint without a history of trauma should be a concern for gout. Local swelling with redness and extreme tenderness, frequently coming in the middle of the night. Patients may feel feverish, and achy. It is common to experience pain in your arms, feet, wrists, and elbows.

Attacks of gout can last three to ten days. As you have more episodes, you are more likely to have future attacks.

Symptoms of gout include:

  • Experiencing a hot sensation on your skin

  • Stiff joints

  • Swollen joints

  • Limited movement

Gout occurs more frequently in men than in women and usually starts occurring after the age of 35. When it occurs in the foot, it has a tendency to affect the big toe and is called podagral. Serum uric acid is commonly—but not always—elevated,.

Chronic gout can cause nodules of uric acid deposits called tophi, they occasionally will leak a substance that is chalky and white. Arthritis does form in chronic cases and deformity of the joints can occur.

Prognosis for gout is good despite the severe pain most people can control their gout attacks with medications and diet.

How is Gout Diagnosed?

Gout can be difficult to diagnose gout because flare-ups are unpredictable. Even in people with hyperuricemia, they may show no signs during a flare up. Plus, many people with hyperuricemia may not even develop gout. Unless you are experiencing an episode of gout, it may be difficult to diagnose your condition.

During your appointment at Resurgens Orthopaedics, our experts will carefully evaluate your symptom with a brief physical examination. During this time, your doctor may ask you to do activities that cause your pain.

After your initial exam, your doctor can use diagnostic tests that measure key attributes related to gout. A joint fluid test will extract fluid from your joint and examine it for the presence of urate crystals. Blood tests can be used to measure your acid levels, although the results are often inconclusive. Although X-rays cannot detect gout, diagnostic imaging may be used to narrow down causes of your pain.

Gout Treatment

There is no cure for gout. However the signs and symptoms of gout can be easily managed with non-surgical solutions.

Initial treatment of an acute gout attack is usually treated with oral medications of colchicine, along with an anti-inflammatory (NSAID or Steroid). Limiting the movement of the painful joint is helpful, and most attacks will last 3-5 days.

Controlling the recurrence of the attacks is done by reducing the uric acid levels in the bloodstream. Medications such as allopurinol, colcrys,and colchicine can manage the levels of uric acid in the blood. Diets low in Purine (an amino acid) can reduce the production of uric acid.

Surgery is only recommended if chronic gout has caused the destruction of the joint as to cause ongoing pain even when a gout attack is not present. Debridement of tophi (nodules) are done when they are too large to accommodate shoe wear or interfere with mobility. If the joint is damaged, then fusion or joint replacement may be necessary.

It's always a good time to do something about chronic gout pain. Start by scheduling an appointment with Resurgens Foot & Ankle Center now!

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