Gout is a type of Arthritis that causes painful inflammation in one or more joints, often in the big toe. The pain that Gout causes can be very severe. It affects around 1 in 200 people and men are more likely to be affected. People suffer from Gout because Urate builds up in the joints and forms crystals of Uric Acid which causes the joint to feel extremely painful.
Normally the body can rid itself of the Uric Acid through the Urine. However, in people with gout the Uric Acid builds up and forms grit-like crystals that collect in the joints. These crystals irritate the joint which causes the toe to become red, swollen and very painful.
The build up of Uric Acid can be caused by a number of factors:-
- It can be inherited. However it doesn’t mean that all the members of a family will have an attack.
- Drinking too much alcohol can cause a build up of Uric Acid.
- A lack of vitamin C.
- People with certain medical conditions have an increased chance of developing Gout. Including high blood pressure, obesity, kidney damage, and vascular disease.
Gout usually occurs in attacks. An attack normally develops over a few hours sometimes causing what looks like a boil near the joint. It can become extremely painful even a light touch can be painful. The attack typically affects the big toe joint however Gout can attack the Knee, Elbow or Ankle Joints.
A small number of Gout episodes causes no lasting damage, however if the Joint is repeatedly attacked then it may cause long term Arthritis. In a few circumstances the Uric Acid Crystals may cause kidney stones or kidney damage.
Your doctor may take some fluid out of the swollen joint and examine it to confirm the gout diagnosis. The GP may also take some blood samples to measure the amount of urate in the blood.
Generally the treatment is to reduce the inflammation, this includes raising the Joint above heart level, and wrapping with an ice pack (avoid direct contact with the skin) for 20 minute periods. Your GP can also prescribe a short course of anti-inflammatory pain killers which will quickly ease most gout attacks.
There a few other treatments that your GP can prescribe including Allopurinol which works over a period of time to reduce the amount of Urate in your body. However preventive treatment is the best method to fight gout. Lifestyle changes including:-
- Losing weight if you are overweight.
- Eat a sensible diet, try to avoid a high protein intake and rich food including liver, kidneys and seafood.
- Reduce the amount of alcohol you drink.
- Reduce the amount of sugary drinks you have.
- Drink plenty of water, try to avoid dehydration.
- Have your blood pressure checked regularly.
At Walk Right Podiatry we can help Gout sufferers by offering advice on Footwear, Orthotics and more to keep you comfortable, as well as working alongside you GP to get you on the best management plan to prevent further painful episodes.
If you would like any advice on gout or any other problems contact Walk Right Podiatry on 01706 655110 or visit www.walk-right.co.uk to book your appointment.
It’s easy to book a podiatry appointment with Walk Right Podiatry & Ciropody and there are a number of different ways to contact us.