Gout and Your Feet

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Image Credits: WebMD

“Three things in life – your health, your mission, and the people you love. That’s it.”  Naval Ravikant

There are many root causes for joint pain. Arthritis is an autoimmune response that causes inflammation and stiffness in the joint. Under the subset of arthritis, is gout. Gout is a painful condition that causes pain, stiffness and also has an associated swelling of the joints during an attack. The onset pain is attributed to a build-up of uric acid in the bloodstream. In time, the uric acid crystals crystallize, and the body reacts to their presents via an autoimmune response, in order to remove them from the the joint. One of the regions that are most affected by gout are the feet, particularly the big toe.

Gout must be carefully treated in order to prevent flare ups, because it does have a re-current nature. If not carefully monitored, tissue damage can result. Gout prevalence varies globally, with between 0.1% and 10% of the total population being impacted by the condition. There are a few factors which influence the onset of gout. These are:

Diet: Rich, and highly sweetened foods have the propensity to increase the risk of gout. Meats, seafood and sweet drinks create the ultimate pathway for the synthesis of uric acid via metabolism, and can increase the risk of gout. Carefully managing the diet, and ensuring that the weight is properly managed is key.

Pre-existing condition: The body is one interconnected unit. If you suffer from conditions that affect your cardiovascular systems (eg high blood pressure or diabetes), you will have the propensity to induce the onset of gout if the condition is not managed. Treatment of these conditions can also create the environment within the body that can facilitate gout. Check your family history for any traces of these conditions, in order to ensure that you are not at hereditary risk.

Gender: Men are more prone to develop gout than women due to their higher levels of uric acid. With age however, there can be an eventual match in the levels and the playing field can be levelled.

How is gout treated?

Your foot and ankle specialist will be able to facilitate the treatment of gout. The condition will initially be diagnosed via diagnostic tests such as a joint fluid test. Additionally, the condition can be determined via blood test to determine the uric acid content in the body. Additionally, deeper assessments are determined via ultrasounds or CT scans, in order to ensure that there are no other underlying root causes.

Via a series of prescribed medications, appropriate management of your gout will result. Since the entire process of gout management is the management of internal chemistry, the following processes are facilitated by gout treatment:

  1. Treatment of a current flare up

  2. Prevention of a future attack via controlling the internal management.

In the treatment of gout, the medication most prescribed include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), colchicine, or corticosteroids. Your doctor will determine what is best for your condition. Additionally, injections of treatments are administered.  Expect about two weeks for a full recovery.

As with all conditions, prevention is better than cure, so take good care in ensuring that your diet is rich in foods that enable your body to function well, and prevent the onset of gout. A diet rich in fluids, particularly water will facilitate the function of your kidneys, and flush uric acid from your system.

References:

  1. Gout Slideshow: https://www.webmd.com/arthritis/ss/slideshow-gout

  2. Everything you need to know about gout: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/144827.php

  3. Gout-symptoms and causes: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/gout/symptoms-causes/syc-20372897

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