If you think you have gout, are struggling with a flare, or have a loved one that is suffering, we’re here to help!
We’ll cover what gout is, what its symptoms are, and the best gout treatment guidelines to help you or someone you know.
Understanding What Gout Is About
What Is Gout in the Ankle, Big Toe, or Lesser Toes?
Gout, a form of inflammatory arthritis, is one of the most common forms of foot or ankle pain. While gout can affect any joint, it typically presents as inflammation and pain in the knee, ankle, and big toe joints.
The main cause of gout is due to the overproduction of uric acid, which can create a build up of urate crystals in or around the joint.
What Are Urate Crystals?
Urate crystals are made of crystallized uric acid, a naturally occurring chemical in the body that helps process foods that contain purines.
While the body usually disposes of extra uric acid through the kidneys or digestive system, when there is too much uric acid in your body, it can accumulate and form crystals in the joints.
What Are Purines?
There are two different types of purines, which are chemical compounds: endogenous and exogenous. The former is produced within the body while the latter can be found in the foods we eat.
What Are the Symptoms of Gout in the Foot and Ankle?
Common symptoms of gout in your foot and ankle are:
- Intense joint pain.
- Chronic discomfort.
- Inflammation and redness of the affected area.
- Limited range of motion.
Although gout generally affects the big toe of a foot, it can also occur in the ankle and knee joints. The pain is often most severe within the first 12 hours of onset.
After the first 12 hours, the intensity may go away, yet joint discomfort can still last anywhere from days to weeks. Over time, gout attacks can gradually become more and more painful.
Additionally, gout sufferers may find themselves facing additional challenges. Gout is not always a “one-and-done” experience. The painful inflammatory process can continue on with recurrent flares, the development of nodules under your skin from deposits of urate crystals, or even the appearance of kidney stones. If left untreated, gout can break down and eventually destroy a joint entirely.
There are times when there are no symptoms, which is known as remission. Remission can last for weeks in some cases. However, it’s always recommended to seek the opinion of a doctor when you notice initial symptoms.
How Is Gout Diagnosed?
Gout in the foot is diagnosed by your podiatrist. Although there is not one single test to diagnose it, your podiatrist can identify if gout is the culprit of your joint pain by:
- Assessing your symptoms.
- Looking at your medical history.
- Performing necessary imaging and lab tests.
Tests are often performed during flare-ups when the symptoms are most intense and uric acid crystals are the easiest to locate within the joints.
Gout Treatment Guidelines
Are There Home Remedies for Pain Management?
There is a wide range of home remedies including:
- Cold compression.
- Avoidance of purines.
- Addition of beneficial minerals and spices.
- Weight loss.
- Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories.
Should I Be Treating Gout Naturally?
There are a variety of dietary recommendations that may make a difference in gout symptoms. These include:
- Reducing sugar & refined carbohydrates.
- Eating cherries and pineapple.
- Supplementing your diet with Curcumin or Nettle Leaf.
- And more.
You can also aim to reduce the amount of purines you intake by avoiding:
- Organ meats, such as beef, bacon, and turkey.
- Some seafood, such as anchovies and codfish.
By cutting down on these, you can decrease the amount of purines that are in your body, leading to less uric acid production and a lower risk of gout!
Treating gout naturally is just one option. However, the first course of action after getting a diagnosis of gout is to seek medical care. Your podiatrist will know the best gout treatment guidelines to help you receive the treatment that will work for you the most.
Medical Gout Treatment Guidelines
There are two primary goals in treating gout: managing the pain of a flare and preventing future flares.
Managing the Pain
In addition to other home treatments & use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), corticosteroids and colchicine are prescribed medications that relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
Other types of drugs are prescribed to prevent future flares. Xanthine oxidase inhibitors, such as allopurinol (Lopurin, Zyloprim) and febuxostat (Uloric). Probenecid (Probalan) is another medicinal alternative.
Your Next Steps in Getting Back on Your Feet
If you are suffering from pain in a joint in your foot or ankle, consultation with a foot and ankle specialist is highly recommended.