Gout is a disease that has been documented as far back as Ancient Egypt and at one time was called Podagra. The Greeks also described gout and Hippocrates called it “the unwalkable disease.” Gout is usually characterized by the sudden onset of a red, hot, swollen joint, often at the big toe, and is excruciatingly painful. Classically, it develops overnight and is usually so painful that “even a sheet” touching it is enough to cause severe pain. And sometimes, wearing shoes is out of the question!
Gout occurs in two principle groups of people, those who “under excrete” uric acid, or those that “over produce” uric acid. Uric acid is a byproduct of normal metabolism and if uric acid levels rise excessively, needle-shaped crystals can form within joints, causing the pain associated with gout.
Gout most commonly appears in men around the 4th and 5th decade of life, but can also occur in younger men, as well as in women. Below are common symptoms and risk factors for gout:
- Severe inflammation; swelling, pain, redness, and warmth at the affected site
- With chronic gout, pain may be more achy and sore
- Limited mobility and pain with motion of the affected joint
- The big toe joint is the most common site of attack, although any joint may be affected
- Alcohol consumption
- Consuming a large amount of meat and seafood
- The use of diuretics (“water-pills”) or dehydration
- Poor kidney function
- High blood pressure
- Obesity or being overweight
Treatment for an acute gouty attack has typically included anti-inflammatory medications such as indomethacin or anti-gout medications such as colchicine and allopurinol. These medications are usually effective, but can be hard on your stomach. Cortisone injections into the affected joint can also reduce the pain quickly, but at the expense of having an injection into the already extremely painful joint.
At Kansas City Foot and Ankle, our musculoskeletal laser is a proven, effective and most importantly, painless way to address the severe pain and inflammation of a gout attack. Our foot doctors have found that patients have significantly reduced pain following laser therapy, often after only one 10-minute treatment. Patients usually leave the office with dramatically improved symptoms.
If you or a loved one suffers from painful gout come see your Kansas City foot doctors at Kansas City Foot and Ankle. Call 816-943-1111 to schedule your appointment.