Gout

Gout in my Footgout in foot

Gout is a painful type of arthritis which often occurs in the feet, specifically in the joint at the base of the big toe. It effects as many as 1 in 30 adults and is most common in men aged 30 to 80. It is a very specialised type of arthritis as it is one of a very small number of types of the condition where future damage to the joins can be avoided with the right treatment.

What causes gout in the foot?

Our bodies are all equipped with a product called uric acid and it is mainly produced within the body, used to breakdown many substances known as purines and it usually passes out in urine. If uric acid does not easily pass out of the body then it can build up and form urate crystals and gout is the condition which is born when these crystals build up and form around the joints, causing inflammation and the risk of joint damage. Drinking a lot of alcohol and eating a lot of red meat, offal and shellfish can further increase the purines in the body which in turn mean the uric acid needs to work harder and may cause build up – but this is only a small contributory factor. Not everybody who has high levels of uric acid develops gout but if you do, you will understand the pain it causes.

Treating gout in the foot

In the first instance gout is treated with anti-inflammatory drugs, most commonly including diclofenac and indomethacin. You may also be prescribed cortisone type drugs given either as tablet or injections – often if you suffer an acute gout attack and other drugs don’t work. Gout is also treated with colchicine for individuals who cannot take regular non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, although it is only prescribed in low doses. Other medicines which are considered dependent on individual circumstances also include allopurinol which helps to stop uric acid building up and this is a lifetime medication.

How can I help with gout in my foot?

If you suffer an attack of gout the first steps to take are to get sat down and rest, and apply an ice pack wrapped in cloth to the sore joint for as much as 30 minutes several times a day to bring relief as well as reduce inflammation. It is also recommended that if you are overweight gradually bringing your weight down to a healthy level will really help.

Questions about gout

If you have any questions about gout or would like to book an appointment with Dr Stephanie Barrett then please get in touch here.