When we think of gout, we think of an older person, like our grandparents. Most people think it could never happen to them! Actually, gout is most common in younger men, age 40-50, it can also be seen in post-menopausal women. In fact, in the United States, it is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis. Gout affects more than 4% of adults in the United States. A new study (published in Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases), found that people who suffer from it have a 25% greater likelihood of premature death. Gout has been associated with both metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease. Also, if your parents have gout, you have a 20% increased chance of contracting it. Both genetics and diet are major factors that contribute to the chance of developing gout. So, could this be gout?
Gout comes on very quickly, without any trauma, and it commonly starts during the night! Gout is an abundance of uric acid crystals that build up in a joint, usually heading to the coldest and furthest from the heart (i.e.: THE FEET)! These uric acid crystals collect and cause severe pain, swelling, and redness. Sometimes though, one does not have all three of the symptoms mentioned. Gout can look a lot like a sprain or an infection. And if you have diabetes, it is imperative that you are seen by a podiatrist because it could be diabetic Charcot neuro-arthropathy.
Certain foods with high animal protein, like steak, organ meats, and seafood can bring on an attack. Also, drinks like beer and fruit drinks with high sugar could trigger a gout attack. Make sure you stay hydrated, as dehydration can bring on an acute attack! In fact, people on diuretics have an increased chance of getting gout. It is a good idea to monitor your diet for prevention. Avoid high consumption of the food and drinks mentioned above. Many gout patients are unsure of which diet to follow. A heart-healthy diet that emphasizes fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy, and whole grains, can lower the uric acid levels. In March 2017, a study was published by Clinical Rheumatology showing that the heart-healthy diet reduced the uric acid within 30 days.
Treatment can vary. Your doctor may prescribe an oral steroid or do a cortisone injection. Both of these modalities may provide fast relief. High amounts of anti-inflammatories can help too. These treatments need to be via prescription by a specialist. You may even need a walking boot for a week or two, to calm it down while you heal. Our podiatrists have musculoskeletal laser technology, which painlessly decreases swelling and pain. Once you have managed an acute gout attack, it is wise to see your primary care physician to seek treatment for long-term medication for gout prevention.
If any of the symptoms above sound familiar, call Kansas City Foot and Ankle at 816-943-1111 right away! Make sure you don’t self-diagnose, as it is important to rule out other conditions. Diagnosis of the condition, whether early on or after several bouts, can get you on the road to a better quality of life. There are many different ways to shorten an acute gout attack, such as changes to your lifestyle, that can aid in ridding the pain. Come to see us at Kansas City Foot and Ankle for an accurate diagnosis and prompt treatment of your painful foot and/or ankle!