Gout is an incredibly painful form of arthritis that typically attacks at night. At Virginia Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates, Melissa L. Gulosh, DPM, and Joseph R. Disabato, DPM, understand the complexities of the disease and help patients in Charlottesville and Culpeper, Virginia, get the help they need. For relief from painful gout, call one of the two locations or use the online scheduling tool to set up an appointment.
Gout Q & A
What is gout?
There are more than 100 forms of arthritis, which includes any disease that causes pain and inflammation in your joints, and gout figures among the more acutely painful forms. Gout most often attacks the joint at the base of your big toe, causing acute pain, swelling, and tenderness during an attack.
Gout can come and go, with long periods of remission, which end with new flare-ups.
What causes gout?
Gout results from uric acid building up in your joints, forming painful crystals. Your body produces uric acid to help it break down purines, which are found in great quantities in foods like:
- Red meat
- Organ meats
Normally, your body naturally processes the uric acid in your system through your kidneys. But if your body is producing too much of the acid, or your kidneys aren’t processing enough of it, uric acid builds up in your bloodstream. As a result, uric acid is caught in your joint, and sharp crystals form that can cause considerable pain.
While the above describes what happens in your body to bring on gout, the question of who is more likely to succumb to this form of arthritis is a different matter. The factors that put people more at risk of developing gout include:
- Eating too many purine-rich foods
- Pre-existing medical conditions, such as diabetes and high blood pressure
- Gender (men are more prone to gout)
While some people may experience only one episode of gout, others are plagued with recurring flare-ups. People with gout are also more susceptible to kidney stones.
How is gout treated?
Gout is tricky to treat since the flare-ups can come on with little to no warning. If you’re in the midst of an acute attack, the doctors at Virginia Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates first tackle the pain and inflammation with anti-inflammatory medications and corticosteroids.
For ongoing problems with gout, your doctor may prescribe medications that block the production of uric acid or improve how your body processes the substance. They may also recommend lifestyle changes that can go a long way toward preventing future attacks, including:
- Avoiding purine-rich foods
- Losing weight
- Limiting alcohol and sugary drinks
To find relief from your gout, call Virginia Foot & Ankle Surgical Associates or use the online booking tool.