Why am I experiencing extreme pain in my big toe joint?

Gout may be the answer. Another name for this condition is gouty arthritis. In general, there are over 100 different kinds of arthritis, but this form most commonly affects the feet. The cause of gout is the accumulation of uric acid in the blood which causes crystals to form and settle in the joints.

Characterized by severe pain, redness, and inflammation of the affected joint, the onset of gout is most often intense and sudden. In the lower extremities, gout typically shows up in the joint that connects the big toe and the foot. However, it can also be an issue in the knees and ankles.

Why is Gout happening to me? Why now?

Men suffer from gout more often than women do, so heredity may play a role in who is susceptible to this illness. It is always important to know your family’s health history. If you are a woman, your risk increases after menopause. There are several other factors that increase the amount of uric acid in the blood and your risk of developing gout.

Beyond gender, there are several lifestyle factors to consider. Before and during a flare-up of gout, you should be aware of your diet. Foods that are high in purines are broken down into uric acid. This bodily process occurs with foods such as seafood, red meat, some fowl, asparagus, and mushrooms. While you don’t have to cut these foods out of your diet completely, you should definitely monitor your intake. Herring, tuna, anchovies, organ meats, turkey, and goose are higher in purines than other options, so it may be best to avoid them altogether.

What do you drink? Sodas and other sugary drinks that contain high fructose corn syrup are best avoided, because sweeteners increase uric acid production. Instead, choose unsweetened coffee, tea, and juices. Alcohol consumption is also a concern, and you should not drink at all during a flare-up. If you are not currently experiencing gout symptoms, choose wine instead of beer. Beer not only stimulates uric acid production, it also reduces the body’s ability to rid itself of the acid.

Have you been diagnosed with other medical conditions? If you suffer from diabetes, high cholesterol, or high blood pressure, then you are at an increased risk for gout especially if these illnesses are not being treated. Some medications can also increase your risk, so consult your doctor or pharmacist if you are concerned about this possible side effect.

How will the doctor help me?

Dr. Lawrence Kales will meet with you to discuss your medical history and your current symptoms. Gout is typically treated with medications, and there are options for treating and preventing pain.

The goal of medications during the attack will be the reduction of pain and inflammation. Prevention of future attacks can be helped through prescriptions that work to either reduce the production of uric acid, or that help the body eliminate the acid more efficiently. Dr. Kales will determine the best course of action for you during your visit to either the Spring Hill, FL or Hudson, FL office. You can also make an appointment from our website.