Gout – An Arthritic Condition
Many people think of arthritis as simply a condition that is a natural part of getting old. There are certainly arthritic conditions that are more likely during advanced years, but the general term refers to several possible causes of joint pain and stiffness, including gout.
Causes of Gout
This form of arthritis is the result of a byproduct created during the process the body uses to break down food products. As purines—a substance found in steak, seafood, and organ meats—are broken down, uric acid is produced. Some food products (sweets, refined carbohydrates, fructose, and alcohol) have higher concentrations of purines, which leads to increased production of uric acid.
This entire process is natural, but issues develop in cases where the kidneys do not properly flush the uric acid out or there is simply too much contained within the blood stream. In these instances, excess uric acid builds up and forms sharp urate crystals, often in joints. This buildup is the cause of the sharp, intense pain.
Gout Signs and Symptoms
This complex form of arthritis is often identified by symptoms found in the metatarsophalangeal joint (MTPJ), which is where a toe connects to the foot. The joint most commonly affected is the one at the big toe. This condition can cause issues in other areas, but tenderness, redness, and severe flares of pain often happen in that particular joint and typically at night.
Treating this condition can be done in a couple of different ways. Home treatment will usually entail lifestyle changes like maintaining a healthy bodyweight, limiting or avoiding sugary beverages and alcohol, and reducing daily intake of red and organ meats, seafood, and other high-purine foods. The best way to keep weight down is through the use of regular exercise, and water is a great replacement for alcohol and sugary beverages.
Professional care is often centered on finding a medication that works for you, both to prevent a future flareup and to treat acute attacks. These objectives might be achieved with medications to decrease or block uric acid production or ones to improve uric acid removal processes.
Prevent a Gouty Arthritic Condition
We can provide treatment options, but the best course is to prevent the condition from happening. The good news is that many of the following preventative techniques are key components of a healthy lifestyle, including:
- Drink plenty of water. Proper hydration is essential for helping to flush out uric acid. Water is the preferred option, but make sure that you are not using sweetened drinks that contain high-fructose corn syrup to do this.
- Limit, or even avoid, alcohol use. You can come in and we can discuss your options in this regard—there may be a certain amount will not cause issues for you—but keep in mind that beer is particularly likely to increase the risk of symptoms.
- Limit daily intake of poultry, fish, and meat. Our staff can help you identify types and quantities of protein sources that are okay for you to consume.
- Practice clean eating. A diet that is based on unprocessed foods can help keep you safe and leave you feeling great. Foods to incorporate in your daily diet include legumes, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and low-fat dairy options.
- Maintain a healthy bodyweight. If you adhere to the previous practices, you will find improvement in this area, but it is important to know that you can promote lower levels of uric acid by losing weight.
Professional Care for Arthritic Conditions in Manalapan, NJ
When gout is causing problems in your feet and/or ankles, you may need the professional care we provide here at A Step Up Podiatry, LLC in New Jersey. Led by the experienced, award-winning Dr. Sanjay Gandhi, we are proud to offer effective, personalized service for all of our patients who suffer from painful symptoms. Find the pain relief you need by contacting our podiatrist office in Manalapan, NJ online or calling (732) 446-7136 today to schedule your appointment.