Tuesday, 05 October 2021 00:00

Why Does Gout Affect the Big Toe?

Gout is a type of arthritis caused by a buildup of uric acid in the bloodstream. This uric acid can crystallize in the joints, leading to symptoms such as sudden and severe pain, swelling, stiffness, redness, and warmth in the affected joint. While a gout flare up can hit any joint in the body, it is most frequently found at the base of the big toe joint. Because uric acid is sensitive to temperature changes, it crystallizes when temperatures are cooler.  Because the big toe is the furthest part of the body from the heart, it is also the coolest part of the body. This creates the perfect environment for uric acid to crystallize and for a gout attack to occur. If you experience painful gout flare ups in your feet, it is suggested that you consult with a podiatrist. 

Gout is a painful condition that can be treated. If you are seeking treatment, contact Dr. Derek T. Pantiel from Summit Podiatry. Our doctor will treat your foot and ankle needs.

What Is Gout?

Gout is a form of arthritis that is characterized by sudden, severe attacks of pain, redness, and tenderness in the joints. The condition usually affects the joint at the base of the big toe. A gout attack can occur at any random time, such as the middle of the night while you are asleep.

Symptoms

  • Intense Joint Pain - Usually around the large joint of your big toe, and it most severe within the first four to twelve hours
  • Lingering Discomfort - Joint discomfort may last from a few days to a few weeks
  • Inflammation and Redness -Affected joints may become swollen, tender, warm and red
  • Limited Range of Motion - May experience a decrease in joint mobility

Risk Factors

  • Genetics - If family members have gout, you’re more likely to have it
  • Medications - Diuretic medications can raise uric acid levels
  • Gender/Age - Gout is more common in men until the age of 60. It is believed that estrogen protects women until that point
  • Diet - Eating red meat and shellfish increases your risk
  • Alcohol - Having more than two alcoholic drinks per day increases your risk
  • Obesity - Obese people are at a higher risk for gout

Prior to visiting your podiatrist to receive treatment for gout, there are a few things you should do beforehand. If you have gout you should write down your symptoms--including when they started and how often you experience them, important medical information you may have, and any questions you may have. Writing down these three things will help your podiatrist in assessing your specific situation so that he or she may provide the best route of treatment for you.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact one of our offices located in Wilmington, Whiteville, and Burgaw, NC . We offer the newest diagnostic and treatment technologies for all your foot care needs.

Read more about Everything You Need to Know About Gout

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