How Is Gout Treated
Gout can be effectively treated and managed with medical treatment and self-management strategies. Your health care provider may recommend a medical treatment plan to
- Manage the pain of a flare. Treatment for flares consists of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, steroids, and the anti-inflammatory drug colchicine.
- Prevent future flares. Making changes to your diet and lifestyle, such as losing weight, limiting alcohol, eating less purine-rich food , may help prevent future attacks. Changing or stopping medications associated with hyperuricemia may also help.
- Prevent tophi and kidney stones from forming as a result of chronic high levels of uric acid. Tophi are hard, uric acid deposits under the skin. For people with frequent acute flares or chronic gout, doctors may recommend preventive therapy to lower uric acid levels in the blood using drugs like allopurinol, febuxostat, and pegloticase.
In addition to medical treatment, you can manage your gout with self-management strategies. Self-management is what you do day to day to manage your condition and stay healthy, like making healthy lifestyle choices. The self-management strategies described below are proven to reduce pain and disability, so you can pursue the activities important to you.
Genes And Family History
Research over the past decade has increasingly identified a link between a genetic predisposition and high uric acid levels. For example, in a 2012 study, researchers looking at a large number of peoples unique genomes found that patients with gout often shared a similar variation on a gene that affects kidney function. A 2018 study further identified several genes that influence how the body gets rid of uric acid.
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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How To Fight Gout Pain
Gout is an excruciatingly painful form of arthritis that often affects the feet. Dietary factors, such as red meat and alcohol, can trigger gout pain. However, medications and medical conditions can be a problem too, says Kenneth G. Saag, MD, a rheumatologist at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.”Non-food items are the major risk factors for developing gout,” he says. Here are nine such triggers, which could be causing your gout pain.
How Can An Attack Of Gout Be Treated
The management of an acute attack of gout is very different from the prevention of subsequent attacks.
Treatments used for prevention, such as allopurinol can actually make things worse if given during an attack, and so need to be held back until the attack has resolved for several weeks.
There are a number of measures that can help resolve an attack of gout. See Table 2 for summary of treatment strategies for acute gout. One principle is that treatment for an attack of gout should be instituted quickly, since quick treatment can often be rewarded with a quick improvement.
If an attack of gout is allowed to last more than a day or so before treatment is started, the response to treatment may be much slower.
Table 2: Medications to treat acute attacks of gout
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How Can I Prevent Gout
If gout runs in your family, men in particular should limit alcohol, fats, and foods that are more likely to increase uric acid level in the body. Those include meat, sardines, bacon, mussels, and yeast. Beer, especially, can also bring on a gout attack. Drinking plenty of liquids may help minimize the risk of kidney stones. Your doctor can do blood and urine tests to figure out your potential risk of a gout attack. Itâs also a good idea for men who are at greater risk to keep an eye on their weight.
Medications can also help prevent gout attacks if you have them often. These drugs decrease the production of uric acid or increase the amount of uric acid you get rid of in urine. These medicines include allopurinol , colchicine , pegloticase , probenecid , and rasburicase .
If these medications arenât effective, your doctor may prescribe . If you have heart issues, be very cautious taking febuxostat.
What Else Should I Ask My Healthcare Provider About Gout
Consider asking your healthcare provider:
- What is causing the gout?
- Do I have any joint damage?
- What can I do to prevent future attacks?
- Can any gout medications help me?
- How long will I need to take gout medications?
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Gout is a painful form of arthritis. Extra uric acid in your body creates sharp crystals in the joints, leading to swelling and extreme tenderness. Gout usually starts in the big toe but can affect other joints. Gout is a treatable condition, and the uric acid level can be decreased by medication and lifestyle changes. Talk to your healthcare provider about medications that can reduce uric acid levels. They can also discuss changes you can make to your diet and lifestyle to prevent and reduce gout attacks.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 11/15/2020.
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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
How Do You Relieve Pain On The Top Of Your Foot
Its important to seek treatment for pain in the top of the foot. Feet carry the bodys weight and any issue causing pain can worsen if its not addressed by a physician.
Treatment approaches for foot pain will vary depending on what the underlying diagnosis turns out to be, but there are several methods that are effective.
Treatment for top of foot pain can include some of the following:
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Is Knee Pain Due To Gout Or Something Else
Most people with gout in the knee experience intense pain during a gout attack. Swelling may also be noticeable during an active flare, as well as redness and warmth.
The pain may develop in the night and hurt continuously for up to two weeks before the flare subsides, with the most intense pain in the first 24 hours. But if gout is not treated, typically with medication to lower uric acid levels, gout flares will recur and over time and affect more joints, including the knee.
Doctors cant say for sure why gout flares occur more often at night but, according to a 2015 study, it might be because your body temperature goes down at night, which could make uric acid more likely to crystallize.
Although the pain of a gout attack is distinct, there may be other reasons for your knee pain you should be aware of.
Your knee pain could be caused by buildup of different kinds of crystals called calcium pyrophosphate . Doctors can examine fluid in your inflamed knee to determine if the crystals are uric acid or calcium pyrophosphate.
The Role Of Uric Acid
Uric acid is produced when your body breaks down purines, which are substances naturally found in your body, as well as in protein-rich foods. At normal levels in your blood, uric acid is a powerful antioxidant and does not cause any damage. The body keeps uric acid at a set level by excreting it through the kidneys and in urine.
It is possible to have hyperuricemia and not develop gout. About two-thirds of people with elevated uric acid levels never have gout attacks. It is not known why some people do not react to abnormally high levels of uric acid.
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Can You Get Gout On The Bottom Of Your Foot
- Yes, you can get gout on the bottom of your foot.
- If the pain is severe enough, it will radiate along the nerves along the bottom of the foot.
- The real key to knowing if it is gout is to check the symptoms: especially if it starts quickly.
- This once again usually occurs only at the big toe joint. If it is not the big toe joint, then you likely have a different problem than gout.
- Consider Plantar Fasciitis as an alternative to gout on the bottom of the foot.
How Is Pseudogout Treated
The type of pseudogout treatment depends on several factors, including your age, other medications youâre taking, your overall health, your medical history, and how severe the attacks are. Drugs to treat pseudogout include:
- Anti-inflammatory painkiller drugs, also calledNSAIDs, generally are prescribed to treat sudden and severe pseudogout attacks. NSAIDs — like ibuprofen and naproxen — usually reduce inflammation and pain within hours.
- Corticosteroids may be prescribed if you canât take NSAIDs. Steroids also work by decreasing inflammation. They can be injected into the affected joint or given as pills.
- Colchicine, a gout drug, is sometimes used in low doses for a longer period of time to reduce the risk of repeated attacks of pseudogout.
Anti-inflammatory medications are usually continued until the pseudogout attack goes away. Symptoms are often better within 24 hours after treatment begins.
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Symptoms Of Gout In The Ankle
Gout symptoms are on a whole other level compared to a sprained ankle, cellulitis , tendonitis, or other ankle issues.
“The gout symptoms such as acute swelling/pain and erythema are typically much more severe,” says Dr. Seligman. “This is much different than chronic weakness or swelling.”
Seeking medical attention sooner than later is always recommended to get the pain under control.
Before we dive into the symptoms of ankle gout, know this: you shouldn’t use these symptoms to self-diagnosis ankle pain.
Always see a doctor when you have one of the symptoms or a combination of the following symptoms.
Treating A Gout Attack
The methods of stopping an attack of gout can vary depending on the severity of pain. Your orthopedic physician may give you a shot of corticosteroids. They may also prescribe other types of medications that are specifically designed to treat gout. To ease the pain during a gout attack, rest the joint that hurts. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicine may also be prescribed to help reduce the pain. The good news is that following treatment, relief from the pain and discomfort of a gout attack often begins within 24 hours. It is important to still make an appointment with your orthopedic physician even if your pain from gout is gone. The buildup of uric acid that led to your gout attack can still harm your joints. An orthopedic physician will help you get relief from the pain of gout attacks and learn ways to prevent flare-ups in the future.
*The blog is for general information and educational purposes only regarding musculoskeletal conditions. The information provided does not constitute the practice of medicine or other healthcare professional services, including the giving of medical advice, and no doctor-patient relationship is formed. Readers with musculoskeletal conditions should seek the advice of their healthcare professionals without delay for any condition they have. The use of the information is at the readers own risk. The content is not intended to replace diagnosis, treatment or medical advice from your treating healthcare professional.
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What Are Future Possible Treatments Of Gout
Fortunately, present medications are successful in the vast majority of gout patients. But some patients cannot tolerate our present arsenal of gout medications. For others, these agents are not sufficiently effective. Therefore, new treatments are continually being sought. Some of the more promising include anakinra, rilonacept, canakinumab, BCX4208 and arhalofenate.
The Four Stages Of Gout
Gout is best understood by seeing it as having four phases or stages :
Stage 1: High uric acid
Elevated uric acid without gout or kidney stone, this stage has no symptoms and is generally not treated.
Stage 2: Acute flares
This stage is marked by acute gout attacks causing pain and inflammation in one or more joints.
Stage 3: Intercritical periods
These are periods of time between acute attacks, during which a person feels normal but is at risk for recurrence of acute attacks.
Stage 4: Advanced gout
This is a stage of chronic gouty arthritis, in which there are lumps of uric acid, or tophi , frequent attacks of acute gout, and often a degree of pain even between attacks .
Figure 1: Stages of Gout
Figure 2: Illustration of Toe Joint with Gouty Tophus. normal toe joint Urate crystals, shown in white, at the “bunion joint,” represent a gouty tophus.)
Figure 3: Progression of Gout
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Leading A Gout Free Life
In order to avoid gout attacks, your gout physician may prescribe a medication to reduce the buildup of uric acid in your blood. In most cases patients take this medicine for their entire life, but there are things that you can do reduce the chances of needing a lifetime of medication. Pay special attention to what you eat. This can help you manage the buildup and uric acid and reduce the frequency and duration of your gout attacks. Eating appropriate amounts of a healthy variety of foods to keep your weight under control and to get the nutrition you need. Try to avoid frequent or daily meals consisting of meat, seafood, and alcohol. As always you should drink plenty of fluids, especially water.
What Is Hallux Limitus And How Is It Different From Gout
Hallux limitus is the initial stage of a gradual onset of arthritis in the big toe, which causes the range of motion in the big toe to be limited.
Hallux rigidus is used to describe the later stages, where the big toe becomes rigid and difficult to move or flex. Both hallux limitus and rigidus are caused by the decomposition of cartilage around the joint of the big toe, which causes pain and limited range of motion.
Although the pain can feel similar to gout, gout is a type of inflammatory arthritis that occurs when uric acid found in the blood stream gets deposited and becomes crystalized in the joint at the base of the big toe.
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Who Gets Ankle Gout
So why is this old disease coming back to life, and who is at risk for it?
Whether gout strikes your foot, ankle, hand, or other joint, the recent spikes in gout could be due in part to weight gain.
An earlier study, published last year in Arthritis & Rheumatology, discovered overweight people were 85 percent more likely to have higher levels of uric acid than people who were at a healthy weight.
Here are some other things that make you more likely to get gout:
- Genetics, especially if a first-degree relative has gout
- Being male
- Being postmenopausala decline in female sex hormones reduces protection against elevated uric acid levels
- Regularly eating and drinking high-purine foods, like veal, bacon, turkey, venison, liver, trout, codfish, anchovies, sardines, herring, haddock, scallops, muscles, liquor, beer, wine, and high-fructose beverages
- Having a chronic health condition, such as diabetes, congestive heart failure, and high blood pressure. Chronic kidney disease is a big risk factor because the kidneys don’t work efficiently to filter uric acid out of the body
- Taking medications that can lead to higher uric acid levels, such as diuretics and immunosuppressants
Certain ethnicities, especially people who are Black, have a higher prevalence of gout and are less likely to receive the proper care and treatment.
Blood Test For Uric Acid Level
Your GP may decide not to do any tests at first if you have typical gout symptoms without signs of any other form of arthritis. But four to six weeks after your first attack of gout, they may arrange for you to have a blood test. This is to check the level of uric acid in your blood. The reason theyll wait is because this test is known to be more reliable a few weeks after an attack has ended. A blood test for uric acid doesnt prove your joint pain is caused by gout, but it will help your doctor to diagnose your symptoms.
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