Did you know that you could be having a gout flare-up if your big toe swells? Gout is a type of arthritis that usually affects the health of the joint of your big toe. The experienced podiatrists at Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Centers are skilled at diagnosing gout and helping you manage your condition.
Our providers believe in the value of preventive care. We’ve curated this guide to help patients in Arlington and Mansfield, Texas, make lifestyle changes now to reduce your risk factors for gout flare-ups and prevent long-term joint damage.
Read on to learn how dietary changes can help you manage gout!
Gout is a painful form of arthritis. It causes swelling in the joint at the base of your big toe and creates the sensation that your big toe is burning. The inflammation in the joint also makes your big toe very sensitive to touch. As a result, even minor contact can trigger extreme pain.
Gout results because of excess uric acid in your body. Uric acid forms to break down purines, a substance found in the foods you eat. If your body makes too much uric acid or if you consume more than your kidneys can manage, it builds up and forms crystals that collect in your joints, causing gout.
Gout flare-ups are extremely painful and can significantly impact your quality of life. When you experience a flare-up, you may not be able to move or walk without pain, making it difficult to carry out daily activities, perform your work tasks, or stay active.
Your body naturally produces uric acid to break down substances in the foods you eat. If you have gout, it’s important to reduce your risk for flare-ups by eating a healthy, low-purine diet.
High-purine foods increase the amount of uric acid your body produces. These foods are linked to gout flare-ups and include yeast, beer, game meats, organ meats, seafood, processed foods, and any foods made from refined carbohydrates, such as bread, cookies, muffins, etc.
In addition, drinks sweetened with fructose or sugar are also known to increase uric acid levels even though they don’t contain purines. It’s best to eliminate these beverages and high-purine foods to keep gout flare-ups at bay and protect your joint health.
While you may have to cut some foods out of your diet, the good news is that none of those foods are necessary for a healthy, well-balanced diet. There are many low-purine foods you can incorporate daily that not only help manage gout but are good for your overall wellness, too.
Even high-purine vegetables don’t negatively impact gout. So eat your fill of a variety of vegetables, including dark, leafy greens, potatoes, and mushrooms. Foods rich in vitamin C are also helpful in reducing the levels of uric acid in your body.
Other foods to add to your diet on a regular basis include:
It’s also important to maintain a healthy body weight and get regular, daily exercise. Avoid alcohol and stay hydrated with plenty of water and herbal tea.
To best manage gout, it’s important to have an accurate diagnosis. Your podiatrist at Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Centers reviews your medical history and performs a physical examination of your feet while discussing your symptoms with you. A small sample of joint fluid may be examined for uric acid crystals to confirm your diagnosis.
It’s important to seek treatment if you’re experiencing any symptoms of gout. If left untreated, gout causes chronic pain. In some cases, the joint may be permanently damaged and deposits of uric acid crystals can cause nodules under the skin.
Your podiatrist works with you to create a customized treatment plan that includes lifestyle changes as well as other treatments, such as steroid medications and injections and medications to reduce swelling and the build-up of uric acid crystals.
Interested in learning more about managing gout and how dietary changes can help? Contact the Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Center nearest you or request an appointment online now!