If you have never suffered from a bout of gout before, then you may not understand the severity of the pain. This condition can appear without warning and, in certain situations, can recur on a regular basis. What should you know about gout, its cause and treatment options?
Many people associate gout with excess alcohol consumption, and while it is true that this can be a trigger, it is more commonly linked with high protein dietary intake.
Gout is typically a result of swelling in the big toe and, specifically, between the joints. It is typically linked to a buildup of purines, the amino acids contained within protein, and these coagulate into crystals over time. When this happens, the crystals interact with the joints of the big toe, causing a lot of inflammation and a considerable amount of pain. In this case, experts are not entirely sure why the purine is not excreted through your urine, as is normal.
It is not unusual for a gout attack to come on without warning and, often, in the middle of the night. The pain may awaken the unfortunate individual, and it may last for several hours before subsiding. During this time, swelling may occur around the toe, and the area can be painful to touch. In the morning, it may be very difficult to put on any footwear or to walk for any distance.
Dealing with an Outbreak
In the immediate aftermath of a gout attack, it is usually beneficial to elevate the foot and to apply an ice pack to try and reduce the inflammation. It is also a good idea to drink a lot of water and to book an appointment with a podiatrist as soon as possible.
When you visit a podiatrist, they will be able to assess the condition and may be able to prescribe certain non-steroidal anti-inflammatories to help. They may also be able to recommend a type of customised orthotic that can help to support the toe and the foot while relieving any stress at the same time. They may also advise you to cut down on your alcohol consumption and to reassess your diet. So, if you happen to eat a lot of foods that contain high levels of protein (and by definition purine) then you may need to address this in order to avoid these attacks in the future.
For more information, visit a podiatry clinic.