The acute pain of an attack of gout can be excruciating, and if you don’t seek medical advice, it can become a chronic problem. The team of expert podiatrists at Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Centers, with two locations in Arlington and Mansfield, Texas, have specialized experience treating foot conditions such as gout, and have a range of treatment options available to ease your pain. If you’re suffering from gout, call the practice today, or book an appointment online.
Gout is a painful condition that most commonly affects the base of the big toe. The joint becomes inflamed due to a buildup of crystals that form when there’s excess uric acid in the blood. If uric acid levels rise high enough, the acid crystallizes in the joint, causing pain and inflammation.
Uric acid is a component of substances called purines that are part of many types of food. Uric acid is normally filtered out by the kidneys and flushed away in your urine. However, some people produce excess uric acid in their bodies, or their kidneys don’t excrete enough, leaving them vulnerable to gout.
Gout usually manifests as an acute attack of pain in the joint at the base of the big toe. In addition to the pain, the joint typically shows signs of:
The pain of gout may be so severe that patients can’t bear even the gentlest touch on the affected joint. The big toe is the joint most commonly affected, but other joints such as ankles, knees, wrists, elbows, and fingers can also suffer from gout.
The acute attacks last for several hours or at times days, but rarely longer. Most patients who have gout endure regular attacks over the course of years.
Your podiatrist examines your feet, reviews your medical history, and discusses your symptoms with you. To confirm gout, your podiatrist may withdraw a sample of joint fluid from the affected area or give an injection.
When viewed under the microscope, the uric acid crystals are visible in cases of gout, but if the crystals are absent, your doctor also checks for signs of infection or inflammation from other possible causes.
During the acute phase, gout usually responds to anti-inflammatory medications. Other treatments include:
During the acute phase of gout, your doctor doesn’t prescribe medication to lower uric acid levels because it may make your symptoms worse. However, these medications may be prescribed for the long-term for management of your arthritis.
If left untreated, gout can lead to chronic pain and joints can be permanently damaged. Large deposits of uric acid crystals may form as well, creating nodules underneath the skin.
Make sure you receive the latest and most effective treatments for gout by calling Arlington/Mansfield Foot & Ankle Centers today or booking an appointment online.