Do you have a painful big toe? When a joint in a toe, finger, knee, wrist, or ankle becomes suddenly red, swollen or painful, it may be an arthritic condition known as gout. Caused by the build-up of uric acid (hyperuricemia) in joints or even under the skin, gout is linked to body chemicals called purines. In excess, purines collect as kidney stones or as uric acid crystals carried in the bloodstream or joint fluid.
Characterized by acute bouts of pain, swelling and stiffness that last from three to 10 days, this long-joked about health condition causes serious discomfort in people of all ages. St. Louis, MO podiatrists Drs. Richard F. Wittock and Gabriel Cardenas of the Foot and Ankle Institute diagnose and treat this common inflammatory malady and can teach you ways to control it for healthier joints and a happier you.
Who Gets Gout?
The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases states that gout plagues adults from youth to senior years but especially people who:
- are male
- are overweight
- drink too much alcohol or sugary, carbonated beverages
- eat excessive amounts of foods containing purines (anchovies, legumes, liver, sardines)
- have insufficient amounts of the enzyme that breaks down purines
- are organ transplant patients
- take levodopa, diuretics, niacin, some blood pressure medications, chemotherapy or aspirin
What's to be Done
If you are exhibiting symptoms and suspect you have gout, call the Ankle and Foot Institute for an appointment. The sooner a patient starts treatment, the sooner he will get relief. Quick treatment also helps prevent joint damage. Diagnosis of gout is usually based on simple review of symptoms and sometimes blood and joint fluid testing.
Treatment is straightforward and includes:
- pain management during acute episodes (Colchicine, a natural gout preventative, corticosteroids for inflammation or NSAIDS)
- weight reduction
- eating fewer foods with purine
- reducing consumption of soda pop and alcohol
With very severe gout, some doctors utilize oral and IV medications which limit the production of acid or that help the body eliminate it.
Stay With It
Richard F. Wittock DPM would like to help you manage your gout symptoms and prevent joint damage. Dr. Wittock is experienced in many conditions of the lower extremities.
Contact Ankle and Foot Institute for a consultation. AFI can be reached at (636) 717-1100 and is conveniently located in Fenton, MO.