If you are experiencing a red, hot, swollen, painful foot, you may be experiencing gout.
Gout is a very painful condition of the joints. It can occur in any joint of the body, but most commonly affects the joint behind the big toe. Sometimes this can be so painful, even the sheet covers touching the foot can cause severe pain.
Gout occurs when the body produces abnormally high levels of uric acid or if the body does not excrete the excess uric acid. When the uric acid levels in the body get too high, and circulate to cooler areas of the body like the feet and toes, the uric acid can crystalize in the joints. These crystals are not the pretty crystals like ice crystals that we are used to seeing. When seen under a microscope, these crystals look like double sided needles! When they form in the joints, they can cause severe pain and inflammation.
Causes of Gout
Gout can be caused by many things, but some of the most common are:
- Shellfish (crab, lobster, shrimp, etc)
- Red meat/organ meats (liver, kidney, brain, tripe, etc)
- Alcohol (especially beer)
- Diuretic medications (water pills)
- Cold (in our practice here in Idaho, 70-80% of patient's with gout are seen between mid October to mid December)
Symptoms of gout are usually a red, hot, swollen, painful joint in the foot. It usually occurs in the large joint behind the big toe but can happen in any joint in the foot or body. The symptoms are very similar to symptoms seen in an infected joint and should therefore be evaluated as soon as possible by a podiatrist. You may require x-rays and lab work to check the levels of uric acid in the blood or to check for signs of infection.
Gout can be a serious problem if left untreated, causing damage to the joints. However, if treated early, it can be managed effectively with oral medications.
If you think that you may be suffering from gout - don't wait. Call our office today at 208 785-6700 and let Dr. Douglas Williams get you out of pain....quickly!