There are some incredible shows on television and articles in magazines put out by National Geographic. Some of the most amazing pictures taken are of animals in the wild. If you have ever seen an up-close view of a lion ready to pounce, you can almost feel the intensity when you look into the animal’s eyes—locked on its prey and ready to take over.
Gout is a painful form of arthritis that acts in a similar manner. When the right conditions trigger an attack, it often comes on suddenly and brings with it a great deal of discomfort.
Burning in the Big Toe
Gout is a complex form of arthritis caused by high amounts of uric acid in the blood. This acid is produced when your body breaks down purines. Your body produces some purines naturally, while others come from foods that you eat. Sometimes your kidneys are unable to excrete it properly or you produce too much and acid builds up. The excess causes sharp, needle-like crystals to form in your joints or surrounding tissues. Imagine little pieces of glass being stuck between two bones trying to move and bend—this is where the pain originates.
Gout most often affects the joint at the base of your big toe and can cause excruciating discomfort. When the joint is affected, your body responds by sending extra blood to nourish and heal the injury, which leads to swelling and inflammation on top of the pain. The pain from bones grinding against these sharp crystals can be severe and it can come on at a moment’s notice, often in the middle of the night. Your joint may feel extremely tender, you may not be able to put any weight on it, and it may feel as though it is on fire. Your toe may be red and swollen and it may be painful to move it. Symptoms are usually at their worst during the first 24 hours after the attack, and you could continue feeling certain symptoms for a week or two afterwards.
If left untreated, this type of arthritis can cause significant damage to the structure of your joint, and it can develop in other places in your body as well. It is best to have it taken care of right away by the experts at Richardson Podiatry Associates. If you are experiencing the symptoms we have described, make an appointment so we can get you the treatment you need to find relief. We can take a sample of the joint fluid to confirm high uric acid, and if the cause of your pain is indeed gout, we will work with you to eliminate your pain. We have several medications available to treat your current pain and also help prevent future attacks. We may use non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and corticosteroids to relieve your pain, and two others called Xanthine and probenecid both lower uric acid levels and aid in the removal of excess acid from your blood.
A lifestyle with regular exercise and maintaining a healthy body weight both contribute favorably to preventing gout pain. Drinking plenty of water helps to dilute the uric acid and following a healthy diet with foods low in purines is very beneficial. Foods high in purines that you want to avoid include seafood, beer, red meat, refined sugar, and whole grains. Foods high in vitamin C and cherries seem to be very effective in helping patients prevent flare-ups.
If you have experienced joint pain from gout, take care of it properly from the start. Your symptoms may subside, but without the right intervention they could come back suddenly with a vengeance. For treatment or further information, contact the experts at Richardson Podiatry Associates in Richardson, TX by calling (972) 690-5374.