Gout is a form of arthritis, which is characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, redness and tenderness, often in the joint at the base of the big toe.
Gout is caused when your body deposits urate crystals near a joint, most commonly the big toe. Urate crystals can form when you have high levels of uric acid in your blood, which build up, creating sharp, needle-like deposits in the joint or in surrounding tissue and cause pain, inflammation and swelling.
A gout attack can occur suddenly, causing the joint to become swollen, tender and give the sensation that your toe is on fire.
You are also more likely to suffer from gout if you:
- Have a family history of gout
- Are male
- Are overweight
- Consume large amounts of alcohol
- Consume a lot of foods that are high in purines
- Suffer from an enzyme defect where your body has trouble breaking down purines
- Have been exposed to lead in the environment
- Have undergone an organ transplant
- Are taking certain medicines such as diuretics, aspirin, cyclosporine, or levodopa
- Take the vitamin niacin
- Joint Pain
- Inflammation, tenderness and redness
- Reduced range of motion
If you believe you are suffering from gout, your podiatrist may take x-rays to check for uric acid deposits or changes in your bones. Your podiatrist may also draw blood or fluid from your joint to be tested for uric acid.
Medications like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and drugs that block and/or remove uric acid from your system, are often prescribed to treat and prevent future attacks.