What is gout?
- Gout is a common form of inflammatory arthritis, a condition affecting the joints and musculoskeletal system. It is the most common form of inflammatory arthritis in men, and although it is more likely to affect men, women become more susceptible to it after the menopause.
- The condition is characterized by sudden and severe pain, redness and tenderness in the joints, most commonly in the base of the bit toe.
- These symptoms occur when uric acid, a product of ordinary metabolic processes, is deposited in the form of needle-like crystals in tissues and fluids within the body. Chalky deposits of uric acid known as tophi can also form as lumps under the skin surrounding the joints.
- Gout is caused initially by an excess of uric acid in the blood (hyperuricemia). Uric acid is produced in the body through the breakdown of purines, specific chemical compounds that are found in high amounts in certain foods such as meat, poultry and seafood.
- Normally, uric acid is dissolved in the blood and is excreted from the body in urine via the kidneys. If too much uric acid is produced or not enough is excreted then it can build up and form the needle-like crystals that trigger inflammation and pain in the joints and surrounding tissue.
- Excruciating pain around affected joints
- Swollen, red and hot joint(s)
- Inability to bear weight on affected foot
- A podiatrist will evaluate your joint and order lab tests to check your uric acid level. X-rays may be ordered to confirm gouty arthritis and rule out any other cause of joint pain. Also, podiatrist can prescribe you appropriate medications to treat acute gout attack and to prevent gout complications.
- If chronic pain or severe joint deformity is noted secondary to chronic tophaceous gout, a podiatrist can also perform a surgery to remove the tophi.