A Quick Guide to Gout

While many people may be unfamiliar with gout and its symptoms, more than 8 million Americans (roughly 3.9% of the US population) have been diagnosed with this type of inflammatory arthritis. Gout develops from a build-up of uric acid, which is produced by your body when it breaks down purines — substances that are found naturally in your body, as well as in certain foods and alcoholic beverages (especially beer).

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© Healthwise

Other factors that increase uric acid levels:

  • Obesity
  • Medical conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and kidney disease(s).
  • Medications for high blood pressure, aspirin
  • Genetics

Normally, uric acid dissolves in your blood and passes through your kidneys into your urine, but sometimes, your body either produces too much uric acid or your kidneys excrete too little. When this occurs, the uric acid in your blood builds up and forms sharp crystals in your joint(s), causing severe pain, inflammation and swelling.

If you experience any form of sudden pain in your foot or ankle, call your podiatrist as soon as possible to obtain an accurate diagnosis. If left untreated, gout can harm your joints, tendons, and other tissues, even if the pain has temporarily subsided.

Once a diagnosis is confirmed through a physical examination, blood test, or fluid sample, your podiatrist will discuss a plan of treatment specifically for you. Treatments for gout generally include a prescription medication or injection to help treat the pain and inflammation, as well as lifestyle changes including dietary restrictions.

To learn more about gout or to make an appointment, please feel free to contact our office at (248)348-5300 or request an appointment on our website. Our podiatrists, Marc A. Borovoy, DPM, and John D. Miller, DPM, are experts in all areas of foot and ankle care, and will be happy to assist you with any problems you may be experiencing.