What’s Behind a Gout Attack?

All of us at Montgomery Foot Care Specialists hope you enjoyed a bountiful Thanksgiving with your families. Thanksgiving is a time to catch up with the people you care about most. But just as much as we enjoy getting together with loved ones, much of our focus is on all the foods we look forward to every Thanksgiving Day.

Can you imagine if you ate like last Thursday all the time? A diet rich in fatty meat (was there bacon in your stuffing? ground beef in the lasagna?), heavy cream (ah, the mashed potatoes and gravy! the whipped cream atop the pumpkin pie!), high fructose corn syrup (did you check the ingredients of your pie crust?), beer, and liquor — all of these can actually put your feet at risk!

The rich diet/foot risk connection

Foods such as high-fat dairy products, large quantities of meat (especially red meat), scallops, mussels, shrimp, and yes, even turkey – are all high in a substance called purines. When you eat foods containing purines, the body breaks them down into uric acid. Uric acid is a waste product, processed and eliminated from the body through your kidneys.

But if you’re ingesting a lot of purines, you’re producing a lot of uric acid. Instead of being eliminated, it can settle into your joints – your wrist, knee, or ankle, and, very commonly, in the joint of your big toe.

Not just about the food

Sudden, intense pain in your big toe is a signal that you’ve got gout. A purine rich diet can certainly be a contributing factor – but there are other risk factors as well:

  • Race – gout is less common among whites, more common among African-Americans
  • Age and Sex – you’re more likely to suffer a gout attack as you get older, though men under age 60 are at higher risk
  • Genes – you’re more likely to suffer from gout if someone else in your family does
  • Obesity
  • Certain medications
  • Dehydration

Gout can be very painful and has a tendency to recur. You’ll want to contact one of our expert podiatrists, Dr. Heidi M. Christie or Dr. Chanda L. Day-Houts, at the first sign of gout. There are medications we can prescribe to relieve the pain and lessen the likelihood of a future flare-up. Call us at our podiatry office in Montgomery, Alabama at (334) 396-3668 or click here to make an appointment.