Ahwatukee Foot & Ankle Center
Foot and Ankle Surgeons located in Phoenix, AZ & Maricopa, AZ
Symptoms of gout, a form of arthritis caused by uric acid buildup, include intense pain and swelling. If you don’t make changes to your diet and lifestyle, gout flare-ups can become much worse and more frequent. At Ahwatukee Foot & Ankle Center in Phoenix and Maricopa, Arizona, the team of board-certified podiatrists is experienced in managing the pain and other short-term symptoms of gout while equipping you to prevent the condition from coming back. To get treatment for a gout attack or help with managing your uric acid levels, schedule an appointment online or over the phone.
Gout Q & A
What is gout?
Gout is a form of arthritis, or inflammatory joint condition, that most commonly affects the joint at the base of your big toe. It happens when you have a high level of uric acid in your blood. The uric acid then accumulates in the joint and crystallizes, resulting in pain and inflammation.
It’s normal for your body to produce uric acid. However, it’s supposed to leave your body through your urine, rather than accumulating.
Gout is a unique form of arthritis because the cause is usually what you eat. People who develop gout usually eat a diet high in:
- Red meat and organ meats
- Shellfish and other seafood
- High-sugar foods and beverages
- Refined carbohydrates, such as white bread, white rice, and pasta
- Processed foods, such as packaged snacks and frozen meals
- Alcohol, especially beer
Gout usually affects men between the ages of 40 and 50. In addition to eating foods that promote acid build up, people who develop gout are often overweight, have high blood pressure, or take diuretics (water pills) for kidney conditions.
Not everyone with the above risk factors develops gout. There may be a genetic component, so you should keep track of your risks if an immediate family member has had gout.
What are the symptoms of gout?
Gout causes painful attacks. Usually, these attacks happen without warning, waking you up in the middle of the night. Symptoms include:
- Pain in the base of your big toe that feels like the area is “on fire”
- Unusual warmth or tenderness in the joint
- Redness, stiffness, and swelling
These symptoms are the worst in the first 36 hours of the attack. The pain then subsides but may last for up to 10 days total, though it can go away within three days.
Gout attacks get worse over time if you don’t manage your uric acid levels. When the condition is untreated, you may have several attacks a year with symptoms that last longer. The condition may also spread from your big toe to additional joints.
How is gout treated?
Your podiatrist at Ahwatukee Foot & Ankle Center provides fast relief from the symptoms of a gout attack and helps you manage the condition to prevent the condition from returning.
To manage the pain, your podiatrist may prescribe a pain reliever or inject steroid medication into the infected joint.
If you’ve had multiple attacks of gout, you may receive medication, specifically to control the level of uric acid in your blood. While you’re on medication, your podiatrist may order blood or imaging tests, including 3D imaging and ultrasound imaging, to monitor your uric acid levels and detect crystals forming in your joints.
It’s important that you don’t exclusively rely on medication and take steps to change your lifestyle. A good way to prevent gout is to eat a diet low in foods that cause uric acid build-up and to maintain a healthy weight.
To get treatment for gout, call Ahwatukee Foot & Ankle Center or use the online booking tool.
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