The holiday season can be a landmine for patients who suffer from gout. This arthritic condition occurs when uric acid accumulates and crystalizes in a joint, most often in the big toe. It can cause excruciating pain and keep you off your feet for a period of time—something most of our patients at Long Island Foot & Ankle Group, PC can’t afford at this busy time of the year.
Below are some do’s and don’ts aimed at helping prevent gout attacks. While gout can be an inherited tendency—something you can’t do much about—there are precautions you can take to reduce the likelihood of an attack.
Do: consult with one of our foot and ankle surgeons Dr. Russell Caprioli, Dr. Mary Ann Bilotti, Dr. John Haight or Dr. Marzana Mleczko if you have suffered previous gout attacks to try to identify what triggered the attack. If gout is an ongoing condition for you, the podiatrist may be able to prescribe medication for you to take regularly to help prevent attacks.
Don’t: consume beverages and foods that are known gout triggers. Purines, naturally occurring chemicals in the body, produce uric acid when they break down. Purines are also found in certain foods and drinks. These include, red meat, organ meats (liver, kidneys), shellfish, rich sauces, red wine, brandy, beer and other alcoholic drinks. For some people, lentils and beans may cause gout. It’s best to avoid these items as much as possible if you have had one or more episodes of gout.
Do: try to stay calm this holiday season. Did you know that stress is a gout trigger? With everything that there is to do and an overly-crowded schedule at this time of the year, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Be sure to take breaks and try to minimize your to-do list as much as possible.
Do: drink plenty of water. One way to help avoid uric acid building up in your joints is to flush it out of your body. Staying hydrated will help with this.
Don’t: sacrifice your feet to fashionable shoes that cramp and strain your toes. High heels and shoes with narrow toe boxes put strain on the toes. The pressure from walking on the big toe is one reason it is so vulnerable to gout.