What is Gout?

Foot gout is a form of arthritis, which manifests in swelling and redness of the joints. This disorder occurs due to a buildup of uric acid and usually starts in the joint of the big toe which is why it is known as a form of arthritis. When a person’s kidneys have difficulties eliminating uric acid, a waste product of certain foods and beverages that are removed through urine, the acid crystallizes, and gout is developed. Since uric acid is sensitive to temperature changes, it primarily occurs in the big toe, because this joint is the coldest body part due to its distance from the heart. However, this foot gout can affect other joints in the body too.

Foot gout can be hereditary, but other risk factors for developing this condition include diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, past surgery, chemotherapy, as well as some medications and vitamins.

The symptoms of gout don’t come gradually, but rather as a sudden attack during the night, or once the person rises. The attack, which lasts approximately 3-10 days, causes intense pain, swelling, redness, increase in temperature at the joints, and low fever. Another attack may occur months, or years later, and it can involve more joints. These episodes become more frequent over time.

A podiatrist diagnosis gout based on the patient’s personal and family medical history, and with a physical examination of the affected joint. Upon diagnosis, this disorder is treated with medications, and it requires weight loss, a modification of the patient’s diet, avoidance of foods and drinks that raise levels of uric acid, proper hydration, and exercise.