Most people are familiar with arthritis and the painful, permanent damage it can do to your joints, limiting your mobility. What you may not realize, however, is that many different types of arthritis exist, and they’re all different. For example: not all arthritic pain that develops is slow or constant. Sometimes, you experience a sudden, sharp, and excruciating pain, like you do with gout.
What Is It?
Gout is a type of painful arthritis that strikes suddenly and then dulls after a period of time, with occasional reoccurrences. It can develop in any joint, but the most common location is in the first joint of the big toe, where the metatarsal and toe bones meet. It’s caused by an accumulation of sharp, needle-like urate crystals between the bones. These crystals are formed when you have too much uric acid in your body.
As the crystals build up, they irritate your joint structures and cause swelling, redness, and tenderness. Usually, the pain starts at night, without warning. It may be sensitive enough that socks, or even your bed sheets, aggravate it and cause pain in the affected toe. After a period of time, the pain decreases and your symptoms slowly disappear. Typically, the attacks last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. The problem tends to reoccur and develop in additional joints, especially if you don’t accommodate the condition.
What Causes It?
No one is completely sure what causes this condition to develop, but it does seem to have some genetic elements. Your body either makes too much uric acid, or it has trouble processing and expelling the substance through the kidneys. Typically, eating and drinking habits play a role in the condition as well; alcohol and certain foods may trigger an attack.
The key to handling the disease is to seek treatment for it promptly. The condition is chronic, so it can never be completely eliminated, but it can be controlled and minimized. Catching and treating an attack right away helps significantly decrease the pain and shorten the time period that you’re affected. Then, you can take measures to prevent future pain. Ignoring the issue simply gives the condition a chance to cause more serious damage in your joint structures.
How Do You Treat It?
When you experience an attack, contact the podiatrists of Country Foot Care right away. Our team will examine your lower limbs to diagnose your pain accurately and provide you with the treatment you need. Then, we can move forward with a plan to manage your condition in the long term.
We may recommend a variety of anti-inflammatory medications to help lower your joint irritation and swelling quickly. Occasionally, direct injections of medication may be necessary. Icing your toe or other affected joint may help relieve discomfort as well. Once the pain has decreased, we may recommend medications to prevent future inflammation and decrease the uric acid in your body.
You’ll also need to manage your diet. Certain foods that are high in purines, like red meat, fish, and poultry, increase the uric acid in your body. High fat or sugar content, as well as excessive alcohol, also creates problems. Minimizing all of these, while consuming more vegetables and low-sugar fruits, helps your body stay healthy and manages the discomfort.
If you’re struggling with gout, or any other kind of arthritis, don’t ignore it and allow the damage in your joints to compound. Contact our team of specialists to take care of your lower limbs and maintain your mobility. You can reach Country Foot Care in New York for an appointment by calling (516) 741-FEET or using our website contact form.