Gout is a painful form of arthritis that causes inflammation in the joints of the body, including the feet and toes. It can happen suddenly and cause symptoms such as intense pain, swelling, and redness. The affected joint may also feel hot and tender to the touch. One of the most common joints impacted by gout is the big toe. If you have an attack of gout, you should seek the advice of a podiatrist before other complications occur.
Common Causes and Risk Factors
Gout is caused by a build up of uric acid in the blood. There are several factors that can increase the amount of uric acid in your body and put you at a higher risk for developing gout such as:
- Eating a diet high in red meat or shellfish
- Drinking alcohol or beverages sweetened with sugar
- Being overweight or male
- Having a medical condition such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or heart/kidney disease
- Taking medications such as low-dose aspirin or diuretics
- Having a family history of gout
- Having recent surgery or trauma to a joint
How Gout Can Affect Your Feet
Because gout causes significant foot pain, especially in the big toe, this condition can make standing and walking difficult. A gout attack can wake you up in the middle of the night and occur suddenly without warning. Gout can cause the following symptoms in your feet:
- Intense and severe pain in the big toe joint
- Warmth or feeling that your joint is “on fire”
- Pain that does not go away immediately and may linger for weeks
- Limited range of joint motion making it difficult to move normally or walk without discomfort
If you have intense pain in your feet or toes that does not do away or worsens, do not ignore it. Consult with a podiatrist to diagnose the problem. If gout goes untreated, it can cause permanent joint damage or can lead to an infection. Gout is commonly treated by:
- Modifying your diet and taking medication to lower the uric acid levels in your blood.
- Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as naproxen or ibuprofen. Your doctor may also prescribe steroids or other medication to help reduce inflammation.
- Using cold packs or compresses to reduce inflammation of the joint.
- Resting the joint until the pain stops. Rest the joint on a pillow if you can.
- Drinking water. If you’re dehydrated, your uric acid levels can increase. Stay hydrated to maintain normal levels.
If you have signs of gout in your feet or toes, contact Alliance Foot & Ankle Specialists. We can examine your feet and determine if gout is the cause of your pain and swelling. In addition, we can help create a custom treatment plan to fit your personal needs. To schedule an appointment in our Grapevine or Keller office, fill out our online contact form, or call us today.