You enjoy a lovely evening out to dinner with friends. You come home and head to bed for a good night’s sleep but are suddenly and rudely awakened in the middle of the night with excruciating pain in your big toe. As you examine your foot you see that the toe appears red and swollen and is warm to the touch. You don’t remember tripping or stubbing your toe. What’s going on? You may be suffering an attack of gout.
In the simplest terms, gout is a condition that inflames joints that occurs when crystals of uric acid accumulate in the joint. Although gout can affect any joint, at Long Island Foot & Ankle Group, PC, we see it most frequently in the big toe or ankle joints. Uric acid is a byproduct of the breakdown of purines—a chemical that occurs naturally in our bodies and is also found in certain foods. In patients with gout, the body either has trouble eliminating uric acid or produces too much of it or both.
What’s the Trigger?
In trying to track down the cause of gout, you can start by going over what you had for dinner the night before the attack. Certain foods contain high amounts of purines. These include: red meat, shellfish, organ meats (kidneys, liver), red wine, beer and other alcoholic beverages. If you have a tendency toward gout these foods may increase your uric acid level to the point of overload for your body and cause an attack.
Other risk factors for gout include:
·High blood pressure
·Taking certain medications and vitamins
The susceptibility to gout can also be inherited.
If you are diagnosed with gout, our podiatrists, Dr. Russell Caprioli, Dr. Mary Ann Bilotti, Dr. John Haight and Dr. Marzana Mleczko, will focus on relieving your immediate symptoms and preventing future attacks. Depending on the cause of your gout, the foot doctor will decide whether medication, diet or other lifestyle changes will help keep future attacks at bay. If you are suffering from any joint pain in your feet or ankles, contact our Valley Stream or Lake Success office for an appointment today.