Pain And Swelling Are Gouts Calling Cards
The most frequent signs of a gout attack are swelling, tenderness, redness, and a sharp pain in your big toe. These attacks are most common at night when you are sitting still and laying flat on your back. While gout usually manifests in the big toe, you may also experience gout attacks in your foot, ankle, or knees. The attacks can be short or long, anywhere from a few days to weeks and you may not have another attack may for months or years.
What Part Of The Foot Does Gout Affect
The medical condition that is referred to as gout is a painful ailment that affects the feet. More specifically, the joints in the big toe are typically distressed if this form of arthritis develops. It can cause severe pain and discomfort and may lead to joint deformities if it is not treated early. It occurs as a result of excess uric acid that exists in the blood levels. This may produce crystals that lodge in the joints of the big toe. This condition is typically caused by eating foods that are high in purine levels. These often include red meat, shellfish, and alcohol. There are methods that can be implemented, which may prevent gout attacks from occurring. These can consist of losing weight, performing a daily exercise routine, and eating healthy foods. If you are having pain in the big toe and surrounding areas and would like additional information about how gout affects the feet, please consult with a podiatrist.
What Is Gout?
Gout is a form of arthritis that is characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, redness, and tenderness in the joints. The condition usually affects the joint at the base of the big toe. A gout attack can occur at any random time, such as the middle of the night while you are asleep.
The Role Of Physical Activity In Prevention Of Gout
Along with diet, physical activity can help with weight loss, and gout has been associated with being overweight.7 in patients with well-established gout, especially if X-rays have demonstrated joint damage in the foot, a low-impact exercise program is reasonable. An exercise program combined with diet in gout can reduce risk for attacks.7 If an attack seems to be coming on in the lower extremity, patients are well-advised to try to get off their feet, since impact seems to worsen gout attacks. Clues to an attack of gout coming on include local swelling, heat, redness, and tenderness in a joint, especially in the foot, ankle, or knee. Some patients have fever and chills as the first warning that an attack of gout is coming on.
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If you havegout, youre all too familiar with the sudden, burning joint pain that a gout attack can bring on most commonly in the big toe.
Gout a type ofarthritis is caused by too much uric acid in the blood. Usually, having an excess of uric acid isnt harmful. In fact, many people with high levels in their blood never get gout. But when uricacid levels in your blood are too high, the uric acid may form hard crystals in your joints.
Gout And Your Kidneys
An overabundance of uric acid can lead to both kidney problems and gout. Uric acid that collects in the kidneys can form kidney stones, which can lead to complications like kidney disease and kidney failure, and also can indicate a likelihood of developing gout. If youve been diagnosed with gout, your uric acid levels are elevated and you should also be checked for kidney disease.
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Signs Of Gout Or Pseudogout
Gout and Pseudogout are two types of arthritis than can appear suddenly and cause sore joints in the hands and sometimes in other parts of the body. This condition can be common in the elbow, wrist, finger, knee and big toe joints.
Here are 6 signs that you may have gout or pseudogout:
Gout forms when people make too much, or do not get rid of, uric acid. These acid levels can be raised, for example, by eating meat or seafood or by drinking alcohol. People suffering from obesity, insulin resistance, high cholesterol, heart disease, hypothyroidism and/or kidney disease also tend to have Gout. Physical fitness seems to be one of the best ways to prevent this disease.
Pseudogout, also known as calcium pyrophosphate deposition , has similar symptoms to Gout but is usually not caused by anything listed above. It can occur with pneumonia, heart attacks and strokes, after a surgery, or in people with thyroid problems, parathyroid gland problems, and those with high calcium and iron. In Pseudogout, many people will form the tophi as mentioned above. Unlike Gout, many will not have pain, swelling or redness.
This disease can be treated in a variety of ways. Arthritis cannot be cured, so the ultimate goal is to decrease pain. Here are some potential treatment options:
- Medication, including a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory ,colchicine or an other medication prescribed by your doctor or rheumatologist
Gout In Foot: Causes And Risk Factors
In about 90 percent of hyperuricaemia cases, there is impaired renal excretion in about 10 percent, there is a problem with overproduction.
- Urate overproduction can be linked to lifestyle factors and certain diseases such as bone marrow cancers, psoriasis, and hemolytic anemia. Lifestyle factors include being overweight and ingesting excess amount of fructose or alcohol.
- Renal impairment has multiple causes, including gene mutations, hypertension, diuretic drugs, lead exposure, and cyclosporine immunosuppressive therapy.
- Gender and age. Men are twice as likely to develop gout as women. In men, the risk rises with age. Gout is uncommon in younger women but the incidence increases dramatically after menopause, due to falling estrogen.
- Western diet. There is solid evidence from the Health Professional Follow-up Study of a link between gout and purine-rich foods. See gout diet.
- Medications. Diuretics, antihypertensives, niacin, aspirin, chemotherapy and immunosuppressive drugs increase the risk of gout.
- Other conditions. Certain conditions carry an increased risk of gout including: Recent joint injury or surgery, cardiovascular disease, chronic pulmonary disease, anemia, psoriasis, renal disease, blood cancers, and metabolic syndrome.
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When To See A Doctor
Gout occurs without warning. Anyone experiencing intense pain on the big toe, followed by warmth, tenderness, redness or discoloration, should immediately seek medical attention.
If a person does not receive treatment for gout, it can lead to joint damage over time, including bone erosions and arthritis.
How Are Gout Attacks Prevented
Maintaining adequate fluid intake helps prevent acute gout attacks and decreases the risk of kidney stone formation in people with gout. Alcohol is known to have diuretic effects that can contribute to dehydration and precipitate acute gout attacks. Alcohol can also affect uric acid metabolism and cause hyperuricemia. It causes gout by slowing down the excretion of uric acid from the kidneys as well as by causing dehydration, which precipitates the crystals in the joints.
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Cherries Or Tart Cherry Juice
According to a , cherries whether sour, sweet, red, black, in extract form, as a juice, or raw are a very popular and potentially successful home remedy for many.
This research recommends three servings of any cherry form over a two-day period, which was considered the most effective.
Who Is Affected By Gout
Gout can affect anyone. It usually occurs earlier in men than women. It generally occurs after menopause in women. Men can be three times more likely than women to get it because they have higher levels of uric acid most of their lives. Women reach these uric acid levels after menopause.
People are more likely to get gout if they have:
- Obesity, or a lot of extra weight.
You are also more likely to develop gout if you:
- Consume a diet high in animal proteins
- Consume a significant amount of alcohol
- Are on water pills .
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Its Not Gout What Is It
pt Health Foot pain
Although many of us try to ignore aches and pains, having these sensations in your big toe can be concerning when they interfere with your ability to do basic activities like walk or take the stairs.
Youve heard of gout before, and your big toe hurts, so is that whats causing your pain?
Did you know that there are differential diagnoses for gout? This means the symptoms you thought were caused by gout could actually be caused by a different condition. If youre looking for a reason your big toe hurts thats not gout it could be a condition called hallux limitus.
Lets take a look at what hallux limitus is and how its different from gout, its symptoms and causes, and how to treat this bothersome big toe pain thats not gout.
Which Joints Are Involved In Gouty Arthritis And Why Is It Most Common In The Foot
As with all other known types of arthritis, Gout has particular joints it tends to attack, and the foot is its most common location. Gout especially favors the bunion joint, known as the first metatarsophalangeal joint , but the ankle, midfoot and knee are also common locations, as is the bursa that overlies the elbow.
The bunion joint is the first joint involved in 75% of patients and is ultimately involved in over 90% of those with this condition. . It is thought that this joint is especially involved in gout because it is the joint that receives the highest pounds per square inch of pressure when walking or running.
Late in gout, if untreated, multiple joints can be involved, including the fingers and wrists. The shoulder joint is very rarely involved by gout and the same is true of the hip.
Figure 5: Location of Gout Attacks
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How To Handle Your First Gout Attack
After a first attack of gout, its OK to try to stave off another one with dietary changes alone. But if you have another attack, its important to start taking preventive gout medications on a regular basis. Long-term medications for gout include allopurinol and febuxostat, both of which limit uric acid production.
Some patients, says Dr. Fields, treat each attack as a separate event and dont talk to their doctors about doing a preventive approach. He uses the analogy of lighting a book of matches. If you have one match lit, its easy to put out, but if you have the whole book lit, its a lot harder.
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What Does A Gout Attack Look And Feel Like What Would A Foot Or Toe With Gout Look Like
When gout occurs, the joint tends to be extremely painful and is warm, red and swollen . The inflammation that is part of a gout attack is systemic, so that fever and chills, fatigue and malaise are not uncommonly part of the picture of a gout attack.
Figure 6: Toe with Acute Attack of Gout
Gout attacks can occur in joints that look normal, or in joints that have easily visible deposits of uric acid. These deposits are called tophi and can be in numerous locations, but especially on the feet and elbows. In Figure 9, the little finger of the right hand is bandaged since fluid was just removed from it, which demonstrated innumerable uric acid crystals.
Figure 7a: Tophi on Foot
Figure 7b: Tophus Over Achilles’ Tendon
Figure 8: Tophus on Elbow
Figure 9: Tophi on Hands
Figure 10: Large Tophus of Finger
While some gout attacks will solve quickly by themselves, the majority will go on for a week, several weeks, or even longer if not treated. Since gout attacks are usually quite painful and often make walking difficult, most gout sufferers will request specific treatment for their painful condition.
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The Pathology Of Gout
Gout is primarily a metabolic disorder in which uric acid accumulates in blood and tissues. When tissue levels reach saturation, needle-like crystals form, causing inflammation. This occurs most commonly in the cooler joints, notably the metatarsophalangeal joint of the big toe.
Many people with hyperuricemia never develop gout, but those with the highest levels are most likely to suffer episodes. Hyperuricemia may also lead to kidney stones.
Gout May Be Your Second Arthritis
Did you know that it is possible to have more than one form of arthritis? Get more information about gout, the inflammatory condition that can occur with osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis.
It is possible to have more than one type of arthritis, and knowing what you have can help in treating your symptoms.Gout, which can occur with OA, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis , results when uric acid crystals are deposited in joint tissue. It causes sudden, severe pain, swelling and tenderness, usually in the big toe, but it also can occur in the feet, ankles, hands, knees, wrists, elbows or other joints. Its typically in only one joint, but chronic gout can affect multiple joints. Differentiating between gout and other forms of arthritis is critical because the treatments are very different. If you think you have gout, see your doctor. The sooner its treated, the sooner youll get pain relief.
How Gout may Affect Other Arthritis Conditions
Gout and RA
For decades, rheumatoid arthritis and gout were thought to be mutually exclusive. But some people with RA also get gout as both conditions share obesity as a common risk factor and may cause kidney problems. Diagnostic tools like synovial fluid analysis and dual-energy CT scans are especially helpful in making the correct diagnosis.
Gout and OA
Gout and PsA
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Signs Your Pain Is Likely Gout And Not Something Else
If you develop sharp sudden pain in a single joint or a couple of joints, if the pain is so debilitating that it is hard to walk or wear shoes, and if you have risk factors for gout , theres good reason to suspect gout as the culprit. However, its important to see a doctor for a thorough exam and proper diagnosis.
Dr. FitzGerald cautions that issues unrelated to gout can cause an angry, inflamed joint. Gout may be confused with several other conditions that can cause similar symptoms, including:
- An infected joint
- Bacterial skin infection
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Psoriatic arthritis
Pseudogout is caused by a different kind of crystal, calcium pyrophosphate. A flare of pseudogout can resemble gout, but it more often affects your wrist and knee, and is unlikely to involve the big toe. Like gout, pseudogout is also considered a form of inflammatory arthritis. Its more likely to affect people over the age of 40 and those who have a thyroid condition, kidney failure, or disorder that affects calcium, phosphate, or iron metabolism, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Its also possible to have gout without the classic presentation of red, hot, sharp, burning, sudden pain in the big toe, foot, ankle, or knee. Some patients may have joint pain that is less acute.
People can also have high levels of uric acid but not develop symptoms of gout.
What To Do If You Think You Have Pain Due To Gout
The good news is that there are effective medications to treat gout, Dr. FitzGerald says. In some mild cases, gout can be self-managed with lifestyle changes, such as weight loss if needed and eating fewer high-purine foods .
However, many people with gout should be on a preventive medication to lower uric acid levels and stop flares from occurring. According to the 2020 gout treatment guidelines from the American College of Rheumatology, uric acid-lowering medication is recommended for people who:
- Have two or more gout flares a year
- Have gout tophi
- Have evidence on X-rays of joint damage due to gout
The guidelines, of which Dr. FitzGerald is a coauthor, recommend a treat-to-target strategy, which means treating gout with medication until a target uric acid level is reached.
Unfortunately, gaps in quality care for gout continue to persist and many patients do not take uric acid-lowering medication, which can leave people suffering the intense and persistent pain of gout without relief. This is why it is important to seek medical care if you experience pain that you think could be gout, Dr. FitzGerald stresses.
Gout can be diagnosed several ways, including:
- Removing fluid from the joint to identify urate crystals.
- Using ultrasound to identify several common characteristics of gout, such as collections of crystals in or around joints.
- Using dual-energy CT to detect urate crystal deposits in cases that are more advanced.
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Whats The Outlook For People With Gout
Untreated gout can lead to permanent joint damage. The buildup of uric acid in the joints and soft tissue is called tophus. Some people with gout can also develop other health problems, such as severe arthritis, kidney stones and heart disease. Its important to discuss your symptoms with a healthcare provider.
Lets Talk More About Tophi
Sometimes, after repeated severe gout attacks, uric acid crystals collect beneath the skin and form small white or yellow lumps called tophi. They are typically found in soft tissue around the affected joints on the elbow or on the exterior part of the ear. Fortunately, tophi can be dissolved with treatment. When left untreated, they can gradually destruct bones and cartilage, leading to discomfort and immobility.
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