Gout is a form of arthritis that occurs most typically within the big toe joint, however attacks can occur in other areas also.
The disease produces pain, swelling, redness and warmth in the big toe joint. There is usually a sudden onset of pain and symptoms. Many patients the pain awakens them from sleep.
Most often it occurs in men and in post-menopausal women. It occurs as a result of having too much uric acid in the body and in the joint fluid due to the accumulation of purines found in protein substances found in the diet. Uric acid is sensitive to temperature changes and at cooler temperatures it turns into crystals. Because your big toe is farthest from your heart, it is also the coolest part of the body and is more susceptible to developing gout. Organ meats, beer and salt should be avoided. Also, gout may be precipitated by an operation, emotional stress and diuretic intake.
Oral anti-inflammatory drugs, immobilization, elevation and steroid injections are all first line treatments for acute attacks. Long term control of uric acid levels can be done with medications also. Contact Dr. Lear-Rayborn at Alaskan Legacy Podiatric Foot & Ankle Specialists to discuss this further.