If you have ever suffered an attack of gout, you won’t likely soon forget it. Symptoms include severe joint pain (sometimes waking you in the middle of the night), most commonly in the joint at the base of your big toe, along with redness and swelling. The whole joint may feel warm and patients report the pain being so severe that they can’t bear any weight on the affected foot. May is Arthritis Awareness Month, and since gout is one of over 100 different kinds of arthritis, we at Long Island Foot & Ankle Group, PC, think this is a good time to share some tips with our patients on how to avoid this painful and debilitating condition.
What’s the Problem?
Patients with gout have an excess amount of uric acid in their bodies. Although this is a naturally occurring substance in the body used to break down purines (a substance found in your cells and also in many foods), people with gout may overproduce uric acid or their kidneys may be unable to adequately eliminate it. There are several medical issues that can cause a patient to develop gout. These include:
- Joint injury
- A sudden, severe illness
- Certain medications such as some diuretics for high blood pressure, heart failure or edema (leg swelling) or the drug cyclosporine
What You Can Do
First, if you have had symptoms of gout but have not been diagnosed, make an appointment at our Valley Stream or Lake Success office by calling: (516) 825-4070 or (516) 327-0074. One of our foot and ankle surgeons Dr. Russell Caprioli, Dr. Mary Ann Bilotti, Dr. John Haight or Dr. Marzana Mleczko will want to examine your foot, take a medical history and maybe order an x-ray or some lab tests as well. Joint pain can also be a symptom of other medical problems, and the foot doctor will want to pinpoint the cause of your discomfort. If gout is the diagnosis, the podiatrist may recommend the following:
- Avoid foods that are high in purines. These include: red meat, organ meats, shellfish and rich sauces
- Don’t consume too much alcohol—red wine and beer are particular triggers, but all alcoholic beverages raise the risk of attack
- Eat a healthy diet—crash diets or fasts can bring on gout
- Steer clear of sugary sodas
- Stay hydrated
More questions about gout? Contact us today.