All About Gout

Doctors call it a gout “attack” for a reason: if you have gout, the pain is probably going to be sudden and very intense in one of your joints. Gout usually causes pain in your big toe, but can affect other joints such as those of the ankle, knee, and wrist.

The Enemies: Purines and Uric Acid

Every individual carries a certain amount of uric acid around in their bloodstream, and that’s okay; however, it’s possible to have too much uric acid in your body. Uric acid enters the bloodstream in two ways:

  1. When you consume foods high in purines such as red meat, organ meats, game, some kinds of seafood, alcohol, and oatmeal;
  2. Through the natural life cycle of your cells. As they die off in your body, they release purines.

Purines break down into uric acid, which collects in the kidneys and is then eliminated through your urine. But if you have too much uric acid in your body, the kidneys aren’t able to process it all. It remains in the blood and can lead to the formation of crystals in your joints. When too many uric acid crystals build up, typically in the joint of your big toe, then you have gout.

Symptoms of Gout

  • Intense pain and throbbing
  • Redness
  • Swelling of the affected joint
  • The joint feels warm to the touch

Diagnosing Gout

With many years of combined experience, the podiatrists at Montgomery Foot Care Specialists in Montgomery, AL are well-equipped to recognize the symptoms of gout. One of our two doctors, Heidi M. Christie, DPM or Michael L. Rosenberg, DPM will begin with a full examination of the swollen joint. If they suspect gout, they’re likely to ask you questions about your diet and your family history.

Treating Gout

An attack of gout will eventually go away on its own. But the battle can go on for a week or more; and, unless you reduce the amount of uric acid in your body, gout is very likely to return. To relieve the pain of gout, we recommend

  • Rest and elevation of the foot
  • Anti-inflammatory medication, or medications that specifically reduce your levels of uric acid
  • Changes in your diet, including drinking lots of non-alcoholic fluids.

The first 24-36 hours of a gout attack are the worst. Don’t just “soldier on” and endure it alone- call us for a proper diagnosis and treatment at (334) 396-3668, especially if this is a repeat attack. For your convenience, you can also make an appointment online, and our staff will contact you promptly.